New Partner is an Alcoholic - Should I Stay?

Reposting here as my previous post was in the wrong spot I think...

Hello all. I’m completely new here and was looking for some advice.

I met a man about 8 months ago on a dating app. He's 42, I'm 46. We dated off and on casually for most of that time. Sometimes several weeks would go by and we’d lose touch, but we’d always reconnect. I was dating others as was he, but something about him kept drawing me to him. He was very funny, intelligent, and charming. Always very sweet and attentive. We had some really nice conversations and I felt like we really connected in ways that I haven’t with other guys I’ve dated. I think he would have moved ahead with a relationship if I had wanted to, but I had some reservations and funny gut feelings that make sense now that I look back.

We reconnected about 6 weeks ago after not being in contact for some time. It’s been a very intense 6 weeks. During this time, he and I have gotten very close. We’ve shared a lot with each other and have begun to develop a close bond. I met his family. He’s revealed his strong feelings for me. He's also shared some of his other feelings, and his insecurities. I've been sharing a lot of mine too. I got the sense sometimes of things moving too fast, but overall, we’ve been enjoying one another’s company and having a nice time together.

Recently he began saying that there was something he needed to tell me. He finally shared with me that he has a serious drinking problem. He’s been to rehab several times in the recent past. The day he told me, he said that he’s really sick and needs to get back into rehab soon. The next morning he contacted me and said he was going that day, and would be away for 30 days. He asked if we could stay in touch, and if I would visit him.

Four days into his stay, he called me. He told me that his treatment is going well so far and that he’s feeling good. He said that he had written me a letter, and he told me that he loves me.

I don't know what to do. I’m beginning to fall in love with this guy. Part of me feels that I should protect myself and completely back off. I’m not so invested that I wouldn’t be able to walk away. But I don’t know if that’s what I want. I’m totally aware of the reality of this situation. This will be his 5th stay in rehab. Unless something’s changed, there isn’t much reason to think the results this time will be any different than the others. His marriage broke up 1 1/2 years ago and since then he’s been living in hotels. He is not allowed to see his children. He’s bipolar. He lost his job. He’s been in trouble with the law in the past. He’s had multiple head injuries due to “accidents” which I believe were the result of being drunk. He tells me crazy stories about things that have happened to him, and there are just too many of them for there not to be a pattern.

The easy answer is to just walk away. I ask myself why in the world would I want to get involved with this guy? I don't want to get hurt and I know that I could be walking right into a situation where that is the inevitable outcome. But I’ve grown to care about him. I see so much good and kindness in him. He has a serious problem but I feel like he could get better if he got help. He's very smart and caring. I think he truly wants to straighten up his life, get his career back, get his kids back. If he were to stay sober, I’d consider staying with him. I would support him if he were to quit drinking for good.

I have so much going on in my life being a single mother of two young kids, working a full time job, and keeping my household together. I know that being in a relationship with someone like this would be a lot to take on, mentally and emotionally. I have my own issues that I'm dealing with. I'm still recovering from my divorce, and I continue to deal with psychological abuse from my ex-husband.

I just don’t know what to do at the moment. He told me that he never got a single visit in rehab. I don't think he has much of a support system. I was thinking how much he’d appreciate it if I visited him or sent him a nice card or two. Regardless of whether we stay in touch over these 30 days in rehab, I know that once he’s out, we'd need to have a conversation about what each of us wants, and our expectations. I would need to communicate to him that I can commit to him only if he can commit to quitting drinking and getting the help he needs.

Any advice is really appreciated. Thank you.
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  • @arcshines... I'm sorry it's taken me a while to read your post. I had a difficult weekend with my son, who struggles with addiction, severe depression, and anxiety. I'd like to wish you a belated welcome to the community. And I'm so glad you found us and reached out.

    I'm sorry to hear about what you're going through with your partner. Caring about someone who battles addiction is a huge challenge. As much as you want to be able to fix them, you can't; that's something they have to do for themselves. Like Al-Anon teaches us about a loved one's addiction: You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it.

    You definitely have some decisions to make. I don't like to write people with this disease off, so I'm not going to say that your partner can't get and stay sober long-term. That said, his track record to this point isn't the best. A broken marriage, unemployment, head injuries, legal troubles...all of which probably had a lot to do with his drinking.

    As the single mother of two young kids, I think it comes down to figuring out what is best for the three of you. Because YOUR lives should be the most important ones. Is staying with this man and hoping he can slay his demons for good going to be easy for you and your kids? Probably not. And what happens if he can't stay sober? Then what? Then you run the risk of being in a troubled, unsafe environment. And you're already recovering from a difficult relationship now. That's a lot of burden to put yourself under.

    Again, I know your partner is in rehab, and that's a wonderful thing. I pray that he gets sober in there, and stays sober when he gets out. But I think the best thing for you to do at this point is to detach from this relationship and see where things go with him over the next several months. He's going to need to focus on his recovery; and I think you should spend some time focusing on you and your kids. If things go well and your partner shows signs of turning over a new leaf, you can cross that bridge when you get to it. But for now, I'd take a step back. That's just my two cents.

    I know this isn't easy. Relationships are hard enough without alcoholism or drug addiction thrown into the mix. But the most important thing for you to remember is to keep you and your kids at the top of your priority list. Those are the only lives you have complete control over.

    I'm sending you love, light, strength, and hope. I will also say a prayer for both you and your partner. Please know that you are not alone. We are here to help and support you any way we can, so don't hesitate to come back and reconnect here if you need to.

    Sorry again for the delayed reply. I'm sure others will weigh in, too. @dominica usually has some terrific advice and insight about relationships.
  • Thank you so much for your reply. I'm sorry to hear about your son. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond while you're working through that.

    Everything you said makes complete sense to me. And you're right, my two kids and I are the most important people in my life. Thank you for that reminder. And I really appreciate the reminder to keep myself at the top of my priority list. I've spent so much of my life trying to please others.

    I can't take on anyone else's problems or solve this man's issues. He's got to want to get better, and like you said, he doesn't have a great track record. He says how amazing and wonderful I am, but I could be the most fabulous woman in the world and it still wouldn't fix his issues. I think my instincts to be self-protective are correct.

    With him being away at rehab, our contact has been limited, so this has been an opportunity to step back and sort of see the big picture. Again I really appreciate your advice and perspective.

    Thank you.
  • @arcshines hello and welcome! thanks for reaching out!!

    i tend to agree with @DeanD that you've got some serious thinking to do. AND, you and your kids are the most important things here.... sure, he's a great guy with potential - everyone is good at their core...with so much potential!!!! but, not everyone realizes that potential or manifests it..ya know?? so you're seeing the "good" and "potential" in him doesn't really mean that much... can't give you the security you need moving forward.

    i'm not an expert... but i do have couple things to share. you mentioned you've been a "people pleaser"...and you've had an abusive ex. That puts you in the role of struggling with some "codependency" characteristics... whether that's caretaking, "over" caring, people pleasing, fixing, insecure, faulty thought patterns, boundaries lacking, etc... something to think about.

    surely you've grown throughout life and getting out of other toxic relationships, but if you're not careful, you may fall into the same type of relationship dynamic.... the "addict" vs. "codependent" (or narcissist, emotional abuser, extremely selfish or immature) it's almost like two magnets.... the codependency dance where you've got the one extreme to the other extreme....

    so, be careful. listen to your inner guidance system. it's so easy to fall into "he loves me. he's got potential. he'll get better and oh my, this is going to be sooooo amazing!" and if you read the threads here, MANY come here stuck in that cycle of "my partner is an addict, can't get it together and i'm so freakin' sick of it!"

    can he get sober and learn to live life sober? get it together?

    absolutely. my hope and prayer is that he does!!!

    would i put myself and my kids in that role to be the ones that "hope" he does? let my heart get involved? i personally would not. no offense and it's not personal; i just think those struggling with addiction/alcoholism can benefit from not taking on new relationships for a while once sober... and i mean, a long while. just my two cents.

    long response, but wanted to reply. i've seen too many women put themselves into relationships where they thought potential would manifest something amazing, but it didn't, and they ended up with same type of toxic relationship, just different face on the man...

    would appreciate your input...and of course, no matter what you decide, no judgments here. we want you to experience peace and joy, and we celebrate your path no matter where it leads....and we're always here to listen...and encourage.
  • Anytime, @arcshines. That's what we're here for. I think @dominica has given you some things to think about, too. And what she said about us not judging you no matter what you decide is absolutely true, too.
  • Hi @DeanD and @dominica. I want to thank you both again for your responses. I really appreciate the input. I thought I'd give an update on what's happened since I first wrote two months ago. Sorry if it's a little long.

    Despite the advice to not get too involved, I ended up jumping in with both feet into a relationship with this man. It's been very intense, with lots of ups and downs, and our bond has strengthened tremendously in the short period of time. I discovered not long after he finished out his rehab how serious his mental health problems are. Particularly the bipolar and anxiety, and the after effects of his past head traumas. His bipolar has been far more of an issue than his drinking. And yes, he began drinking right away after he finished rehab. I may be missing the obvious, but I'm actually not sure if he has a serious drinking problem. I personally have not seen him drink excessively and I haven't seen any evidence of it, but I do think the drinking he does do is a part of his entire spectrum of issues - bipolar, PTSD, anxiety, head trauma, etc. I believe he entered rehab because he needed to cut back on his drinking, and also because he needed therapy and was looking to be stabilized and put on medication.

    He was put on lithium during rehab, and when he got out in late July we spent a lot of really nice time together and he seemed to be doing great. His moods were stable and he seemed happy. He was looking forward to October when he is supposed to start working again. But he soon took himself off the meds because of the side effects. After that his moods became more unstable. As we spent more time together I saw how severe his anxiety is, especially at night. He'd have panic attacks in the middle of the night and have trouble breathing. He'd send me texts at 2am or 3am about the bizarre situations he was getting himself into or the strangers he was engaging with. He barely sleeps. He was constantly losing things and forgetting. There were also a few strange incidents where he seemed to be paranoid and accused me of seeing other guys, or going through his belongings. I tried to urge him to see a doctor so that he could get on a lower dose of lithium or maybe try another drug. He said he would but he never did. He also said he'd be getting into therapy, but he didn't follow up on that either. I understand now that he likely is experiencing a manic episode. I've done a lot of research on bipolar in the last several weeks and his behaviors once he went off the lithium seem to all point in that direction.

    It's been a rollercoaster. We have definitely had some nice times together. We even went away together for a weekend and it was the most romantic thing ever. He has loved me more than any other guy has. He is sweet and generous and very kind hearted. And I've completely fallen for him too. Things started falling apart however about a week and a half ago. We spent two days together while my kids were away. I mentioned to him that I was planning on going away for 5 days over the Labor Day holiday to visit friends. This triggered his anxiety. He seemed more on edge while we were together, and he ended up having a huge panic attack at my house. He left suddenly, and over the following two days his behavior started to change. He would go from being very loving toward me to being distant, almost angry. During this time, he told me that he was going to Florida for a while and was leaving right away. It was all very sudden and very vague. I kept trying to get him to talk to me and tell me what was going on, but he just kept pulling away. I finally was able to speak to him on the phone just before his flight while he was at the airport. He told me that he's having serious mental anguish, and that his bipolar symptoms are severe. He's having violent nightmares and crippling panic attacks. He said that he'd be staying at the home of his cousin in Florida and entering an outpatient treatment program, and that he's coming back on October 1st. He said he loved me and that his heart was breaking over having to leave, but that this was his only option. He has nowhere to live up here, and no income. He told me that I have enough on my plate with my job, being a single mother to my two kids, etc. He said that he's too much of a handful, and that he doesn't want to burden me. I really don't know if he was breaking up with me, because he seemed to be saying goodbye, but he also asked me not to see anyone else while he's gone, and also made a statement about how my support will "carry him back to me." He also said something about how he'd be asking for my advice on any meds they put him on in the treatment program. The phone conversation was a bit tense, and he seemed somewhat agitated by my tears, but we ended the call by saying we loved each other. Late that night I got a text from him saying he had arrived safely in Florida.

    That was over a week ago, and I haven't heard a word from him since. It's not like him to go silent - since we've been seeing each other he would call almost every day, and text me all the time. My texts to him aren't going through and my calls go straight to voicemail, and he has not responded to my emails. I don't know what to think. For all I know something could have happened to him. Maybe he's not doing well and has been hospitalized. Or maybe he's just dumping me. It hurts so much to not hear from him and to be shut out like this. I don't understand how he could go from loving me and not being able to get enough of me to completely disappearing and cutting me off from him. I wish he would write even just to tell me that he's okay. I once met the cousin whose house he's staying at, but I don't have her contact information, or contact information for anyone else in his family to check on him.

    I suppose this is all somewhat predictable. My friends tell me this is my sign to move on and try to get my mind in a better place so that I don't find myself in this type of relationship again. I know they're right but it's so hard. I really do love him despite his problems. I don't want to be hurt, but I would take him back right now. All I think of is him.

    I appreciate the support here. Reading through some of the other posts has been really helpful as well. I'm trying to figure out a way to move on and move forward. Thanks for listening.
  • Writing again to mention something that I completely forgot - and can't believe I didn't remember it. When he would spend the night with me, we'd have a couple of glasses of wine together then go to bed. When I'd wake up the next morning I'd always find the bottle of wine empty. So he was finishing off the bottle alone, in the middle of the night. Perhaps trying to calm his anxiety, I don't know. But it's disheartening that this is happening after having gone through treatment in rehab.
  • @arcshines Hey there. Thank you for the update. You sure have been on a roller coaster ride with this man. I'm sorry to hear that and I'm sorry to hear that he's left you high and dry. Try not to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out the "whys". You may never know why and he might not even really know seeing as how he is dealing with mental health issues and addiction. We all know he's not a bad man...he's a sick man.

    I cringed when I read that you would take him back immediately if he wanted you back. Just from the little bit I read here this man is not emotionally or mentally ready for a serious relationship. But that's just my opinion.

    Are you able to see a therapist? It might help to process some of this with a trained professional and as your friend suggested get your mind into a healthier place. I know you love him, but you do deserve someone who's at a place in their lives where they can offer you and your family more than he can or has. But then again I am not a relationship expert.

    Do your best to move on with your life taking good care of yourself and those children. We're here to listen for sure. We want the best for YOU.
  • Thanks @dominica. Yes, I'm in therapy. I've been off it for a while because of summer schedules, but now that schools is in session I'll be back to going at least once a week. I'm planning to use it as an opportunity to walk through all this and try to start making better choices for myself and my kids.

    This is not the first short-lived, dysfunctional relationship I've been involved in since my divorce. I need to figure out a way to break this pattern because I just keep getting hurt over and over again. I'm frustrated with myself because I keep putting myself into these relationships, knowing on some level that they are going to crash and burn. Especially with this one, where I saw from the start how unpredictable and unstable (and unwell) this man was, yet I completely opened my heart to him and went all-in.
  • @arcshines... I'm sorry for the things you've been going through with this man. I have to say, I agree with @dominica: I don't think this man is ready for a serious relationship. If it were me, I would move on.

    Also, as far as his drinking... I'd say that him finishing off the bottle of wine by himself, alone, in the middle of the night is a sign of a drinking problem.

    Obviously, you are the only person who can decide whether or not you should continue to pursue this relationship. I am praying that you will find the strength to make the decision that is best for you.

    Come and lean on us anytime you need to.
  • @dominica and @DeanD, I also I have say that I feel almost ashamed to be posting here because I KNOWINGLY got involved with someone with addiction and mental health issues. When these problems appear later in a relationship or marriage, you could understand why a person would be entangled at that point. In my case the problems were apparent right away, and I feel so embarrassed to be sitting here having all this angst over a situation I brought on myself. It's very depressing.
  • @arcshines... Don't be silly, my dear! There is absolutely no reason for you to feel ashamed or embarrassed! We are all human beings, and we don't always have control over the things we feel. Love is the most powerful drug of all, and it doesn't really care if the person we fall for has a "clean slate." We fall in love with the person. That's what you did. The fact that they have addiction and mental health issues that are now making this relationship hard isn't your fault. And it doesn't make you a bad person if you decide you can't continue on with the relationship.

    I don't know if what I just typed makes any sense, but I just want you to know that you have nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. <3
  • @DeanD it makes total sense. Thank you so much.
  • @arcshines i agree.... no need to feel embarrassed. we can learn valuable lessons all along the way of life...surely you're learning through all of this!!

    you have a big heart.... that's pretty clear. and you probably like to care for others... those are great qualities to have.... so keep that in mind moving forward, learning from your past... :) and i always say love is wonderful, but love isn't all that is necessary to enjoy a healthy, long-lasting relationship. most divorcees will say, "i DO love him/her, but i just can't do this anymore...etc." so much more involved than just love .... and hey, we're all learning, my dear... <3
  • @arcshines . Hello. So sorry to hear what you are going through. There is nothing to be ashamed about. Sometimes for whatever reasons we care and fall for the wrong man. I think @DeanD and @dominica gave you some very excellent advice. I'm saying this as a woman who was once married to a man who was Bipolar, had anxiety issues and who was also an alcoholic. You have known him for the short while. There is a reason I am sure he is divorced. I'm betting his wife loved him very much, but there is only so much anyone can do for another person. You mentioned that he had side effects from the lithium he was on, so he stopped taking the meds. This is classic behavior in many people who have bipolar or any mental health issues. They start to feel better so they stop taking their meds. There are alot of other medications for Bipolar, but that doesn't mean the illness or all the symptoms disappear. Also what you described that you thought was a manic episode, was a severe manic episode! You said you have your own issues you are working on, and you have children to care for. So trust me when I tell you, you are not equipped to take all this on. Life with someone who has these types of issues can be extremely difficult even in the best of times. Also the fact that already are so worried about him, keep thinking about him and saying you would take him back in a minute says you are falling into the codependent /addict cycle. This is not a fun place to be. If you were my best friend I would tell you to run as fast as you can. I don't want to offend anyone, because some people get better, but it seems like he has had this struggle for a very long time. Unless you have been there before there is no way to fully understand how your life can spiral out of control trying to deal with these types of problems. It's never ending sometimes. You truly need to trust your gut feelings. I'm sure he is a good person and I know it's nice to have the companionship and someone saying nice things to you, but you could be setting yourself up for more misery than you could possibly deal with. Try to focus on yourself and your children. You deserve a good life and so do your children. I tried to help my ex-husband from the time I was 13 until 33 years old. It doesn't matter how much you love someone or how hard you try to be there for them, help them get better,. Sometimes it is just not possible. He has to take care of himself and it seems like he has many things he needs to work on getting help for. Hopefully you will do what is best for you right now and not fall into that place that could take years to get out of. I'd also like to add I joined this forum because my son is an addict, is Bipolar, and had a traumatic brain injury and it has been a long long hard road to be on and I wouldn't want my worst enemy to even have to go through what I have had to deal with for even one minute. Take care of YOU and seriously think of moving on. I'm sorry for being so blunt but when I saw your post I just had to be honest. Wishing all the best for you and your children. Stay strong.
  • @arcshines Perhaps when you get back to therapy you can really hone in on the underlying emotional or thought patterns that are running in your subconscious that are causing you to choose these types of men or relationships. Think of a CD player and you've got an old, faulty CD in that player playing music that leads you to unhealthy relationships.

    With the help of a therapist, you can essentially remove that CD, understand how that CD got there and what was on it, (maybe faulty thoughts or beliefs you picked up in childhood or throughout life) and start creating a new CD to put in and play. The kind of CD that will lead you to a healthy relationship with yourself, and that will then in lead you to healthier relationships, meaning you'll attract and only accept those who are healthier emotionally and behaviorally. Not perfect, cuz we all still have some stuff to work on, but those that have taken the time to go inside and do some work or at least willing to do the work when necessary. I hope that makes sense.

    And, know that we're always here too!!! Rooting for you!
  • @tiredmom thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Don't apologize for being blunt! One of the reasons I came here was to get this sort of advice. I'm sorry that you've gone through what you have with your ex-husband and your son. I can't even begin to imagine the pain and difficulties.

    I actually have read through your response 4 or 5 times now so it can all sink in. Your advice is very similar to the advice I've gotten from a couple of close friends who work with addicts and/or mental health clients. One of them said straight out that if I continue to get involved with this guy, I'll ruin my life.

    You are correct in saying that I'm not equipped to deal with all this. People have said that this man is not capable of being in a relationship, and I also think the same may be true of me. My divorce is still fairly recent, and I'm not even close to having recovered from the trauma of it all. I was diagnosed with PTSD from the abuse and underwent treatment last year, which helped a lot, but I still struggle sometimes as I move forward. The series of romantic relationships I've been involved in since my divorce have all been ways for me to medicate away the pain or put a band aid on the hurt I've experienced. I'm working really hard in therapy to address all of this.

    The love and affection I get from this man is intoxicating, like nothing I've ever experienced. And he is the kindest man I've ever loved. I know that doesn't come anywhere near justifying the risk. When you say that a relationship with him will bring me misery and pain - those are essentially the same words from a friend of mine. She said it will just be one crisis or disappointment after another. I keep thinking about how in this very short relationship, he's already left me twice - once for rehab, and now for the current treatment he's in. What does that say for a future? I also think about the fact that he lost his family over all this. He does not see his children. If he couldn't get it together for the sake of keeping his children, then what makes me think he'll be able to do it for me, a woman he has known for just a short time?

    I know this man is unwell. I know that there is no cure for any of his problems. He needs treatment and also needs to do a lot of work to get himself to a place where he will make the lifelong commitment that is needed. The empath in me sees him as broken, a wounded soul, who needs and deserves love and support. I totally get that all the love and support in the world won't help him if he can't help himself, and that there is great risk of putting myself into that role.

    What's funny is that he finally contacted me yesterday. My undelivered texts came through as read, and he responded telling me that he loves and misses me, and that he'd call me last night. Well, last night came and went and he never called. There I was sitting by the phone. I kept checking all night to see if I missed his call. Nope - not a word from him. Another disappointment. A small one I'm sure compared to those you have been through @tiredmom. I was really sad and was looking forward to hearing his voice. And now my texts to him are once again not going through. Another sign perhaps that I need to move on.

    Thanks again for all the support and advice @tiredmom, @DeanD, and @dominica, it is so very much appreciated.
  • You are very welcome, @arcshines. I think you know what's best for you at this point.

    Sending you strength and hope today.
  • @arcshines I am glad you have some friends that you can talk to. Hopefully they can also offer some support. I can see you are a very compassionate person and I completely understand how you can look at him and see this man as broken, sad, a wounded soul. That is probably the biggest problem I had with my ex-husband. And he WAS all those things you mentioned of this man. And yes, sometimes the emotions were very intense, because at times he was very loving towards me, but other times very abusive in so many different ways. I don't know why but it seems everything is more intense when you are in an unhealthy relationship and sometimes we are just in a place ourselves where we become so needy that we confuse that intensity for love. But it is not love. It's our own desire to be loved that is driving everything we feel. A relationship with him could get so crazy that I guarantee you will have more suffering than you already feel if you continue with this. You can become so sucked in to his life it will suck you down into a hole so deep it will be difficult to climb out of. And then your children will suffer, if their mom is not in a good place. Everything you said about if he couldn't do this for his family he lost is probably right on. You know in your gut what you need to do. Get away while you still have some ability to think clearly. Our heads can get so messed up the longer we try to hold on or attempt to fix another person. Instead of sitting by the phone waiting for his call, and hearing his voice, you should put notes by your phone reminding yourself that this man is not going to be good for you. That is exactly what I had to do. Because I was weak when it came to him. You deserve to find happiness and a partner who can be there for YOU. This man has too many issues that he hasn't been able to get under control. Your friend is probably right. A relationship with him will ruin your life. For your own sanity you should just end this completely. And then continue to seek help for yourself with your therapist. You don't need to be in a relationship to feel good or be happy. Sometimes it is better to just be alone and work on ourselves and give extra time to our children. I hope this is making sense to you. I never want to be the kind of person who thinks someone can't get better, but from everything you have so far stated in your posts about him and the issues you have because of past relationships, I Sincerely think you need to cut off all communication with him, feel that loss, and move on. I am not sure if you fully understand what you could be up against in regards to your future if you keep trying to stay in this relationship. So glad you are reaching out for support. I hope you can do this for your own happiness and your children's. At some point you Will find someone who you can have a healthy relationship with. But trust me when I tell you it's not him. So sorry.
  • @tiredmom thank you again for taking the time to write. I'm thinking about everything you've said very carefully. I feel really scared right now, mainly because in spite of the dangers of getting involved with him, I feel like I can't make a decision. Like I'm just sort of paralyzed. He is providing me with something very real and very strong that I'm obviously scared to let go of. I'm hoping to work through this and figure it out so I can get on the right path.

    I did finally hear from him. He was admitted to an inpatient rehab facility and he'll be there at least another month.
  • @arcshines I totally understand what you are feeling. It's very strong and almost like an addiction in itself. He is just someone that has paid attention to you. You have probably been lonely and yes it does feel good to have someone. But really, does this feel good. I don't know you personally but I know how I was, and a few friends too. I bet it is very familiar to you because you have probably been in relationships where there was always a lot of drama. You are used to the drama. It's familiar! Good to hear he is in a rehab, but what you have said so far regarding all his issues, I can bet my life this won't be the last time he goes to a rehab or hospital or whatever. And if you were my best friend I would tell you if you don't stop this now and move on you will end up with more misery than you can imagine. I can literally feel your desperation, confusion by what you say. Because I have been there and believe me it only gets worse. With everything you know about him and the fact you are having a hard time letting go tells me you are already attached and looking for something to make you feel good. Trust me, it will not be him. I'm so sorry to say this to you, but some people have bigger problems than we can handle. Especially if we are not in a place where our own emotional well being is not healthy. You yourself said you are still not over abuse from a past relationship. You should work on yourself and stay out of relationships for a while. We don't need to have a man to feel valuable. Please stay with this forum and get support and let others try to help you.
  • @tiredmom i agree with much of what you just said... and i too have been addicted to "love"... or should i say "a person"... i was not in an emotionally mature place. i was very wounded that went all the way back to childhood, and until i could work through all that (with therapist and serious inner journey)... i could not have a healthy relationship with an intimate partner....

    always opportunity to learn... :)
  • Thank you @tiredmom for all your advice and support.
  • @dominica I truly understand what you may have felt and went through. And I feel bad for @arcshines because I know how difficult it can be to let go. It seems I have a very high tolerance for what I am able to deal with, even when I am miserable beyond the point of extreme misery and unhappiness. My problems also had a great deal to do with things from my childhood. People that know me can't even believe I survived and became fairly successful and am fairly sane. Lol minus my codependent tendencies. I am a master at caretaking and sometimes I think my compassion for others is a huge hindrance for myself. But I will tell you that even though I couldn't take care of myself, my love and feeling of needing to protect my children from craziness and bullshit is what gave me the strength to pull away from the person I was with. I wasn't going to have them growing up in a home that was not good, or with a mother who was depressed and stressed out and everything else that comes along with these toxic relationships. @arcshines could find some comfort and joy devoting more time to her children and get some comfort from seeing them smile and their happiness when they are doing things together. Having fun with them can help take her mind off of Mr. I am extremely unhealthy and toxic.
  • Great insight and advice, @tiredmom. Thanks for sharing it with @arcshines and the rest of us. Also...In addition to becoming addicted to love or a person, you can also become addicted to a person's addiction. I know, because I've been there with my son and his addiction.

    Hope you're doing alright, @arcshines. And I'm glad to hear he's in treatment. Please take this time to focus on YOU.

    We're here for you. Don't forget that.
  • @DeanD Thanks for the positive comments regarding my posts to @arcshines. Sometimes I question myself if I should be so blunt, but sometimes a situation calls for just speaking the truth and telling it like it is. I seemed to overcome my codependent ways when it comes to a man, but I am still struggling with how to do the right things for my addict son. For some reason it just seems harder for me because a mothers natural instinct is to protect her children. As for any man,I wouldn't hesitate to say hey get the hell out of my life, and take your problems with you, but with my son, damn it's tough.
  • I hear ya, @tiredmom. As the father of an adult son who struggles with addiction on and off, I know exactly what you're saying. I believe it IS harder for a parent, because there is that parent-child bond that doesn't go away. We just have to keep doing the best that we can and remember that our lives matter, too.
  • @DeanD thanks so much, I'm hanging in there. I really appreciate all the support here! I feel that I can't talk too candidly about this with my friends, because they're sort of bewildered at how/why I'm involved with this guy to begin with and are a little frustrated with me.

    @tiredmom don't ever hesitate to be blunt with me, really! It's like a reality check. I have a tendency to let my head get into la la land and think a guy is going to turn into Prince Charming because of his good qualities, while ignoring the glaring problems.

    I've been missing him a lot the last couple of days. I haven't heard from him again. His two days per week where he's allowed to make calls have passed without a word, so I don't know what to make of that... I think when people are apart we tend to recall the good memories, and the painful ones fade out. At least that's what I do. I miss spending time with him, talking to him, just sitting with him and holding his hand. I'm also finding myself at times getting a little angry and resentful. On the surface I guess it's easy to say that I'm angry at him for leaving me (again). Each time he's left it's felt like he's just abandoning me. I get lonely and think how nice it would be to have him here so we could do the things we like to do together - go for a walk, grab a bite to eat, watch a movie. I start getting more angry thinking to myself, I deserve better than this. I deserve to be in a relationship where the person is present and available to me. Instead I'm with someone whose problems are causing him to be absent from my life. I also get angry at him for not just stepping up and saying, look, I'm not able to be in a relationship. I have issues I need to work on. I can't give you what you need, it isn't fair to you. But instead of being angry at him for not doing that, WHY CAN'T I JUST LEAVE?? Then I get angry at myself.

    He'll be back from rehab in a few weeks and popping back into my life again. I don't know what will happen. I searched his name online the other day and found his old bio from the place he used to work. Reading through it and looking at the photo, he just seemed like a completely different person. It made me really sad.

    I'm trying to distract myself by keeping busy with work and my kids and other things. I've been working out and spending some time organizing and cleaning the house. But I still think of him every minute. It's really hard, but it helps so much to have the support here. Thank you all!
  • @arcshines I really feel where you are coming from. I know the anguish you are probably feeling. I don't know all the reasons why we sometimes get into relationships like the one you are in. I've had a couple of relationships just like the one you describe. And I agree with you that sometimes it is easier to focus on the good times and hold on to those thoughts. And yes, everyone can feel lonely. Sure it is nice to have someone in our lives whom we can share a meal, do things together that you just can't get from your children. But if you have friends it is a good idea to have your adult time with them, instead of thinking you need a man in order not to be lonely. Don't get me wrong. I have been where you are. Luckily I changed alot of my ways and end up with someone I am happy with. It's not perfect, as no relationship is, but it is pretty darn good and I have none of the problems I had in my past. I can honestly feel what you are feeling from my own memory. I can imagine how your friends may be thinking what the hell is she thinking? But I remember how hard it was for me. It made me half crazy after a while. You keep waiting for him to turn into Prince Charming like you described and it just never happened. I also find it interesting that you used the word abandon. You said you are angry in a way you feel abandoned. Do you have issues yourself where you were abandoned at some point in your life? It's not that he really abandoned you. He is very unwell in many ways from what you have described. I don't know what you think is going to come of this relationship with this man. He has some very serious problems that probably aren't going to get better. Maybe he will improve for a little while and then fall back again. You have to remember mental illness is involved here. Add addiction to that and seriously, his chances of getting well enough to give you what you need are not very good!! I know you miss him. I can imagine the hole/void you feel without him in your life. You are grasping at the memories of the good times and holding onto those for dear life in order to not feel the pain of letting go. You must let go for your own good. Sometimes when we get into a relationship as such, we can think of nothing else. We can become obsessed with thinking about the other person, and make decisions based on those feelings. We then end up hurting ourselves and if we're not careful, it could have an effect on our children. Even though you feel sad and lonely, try not to let them know it. My mother was always upset over some man and I think it had an effect on what I thought was acceptable in a relationship. You know in your heart that he is going to suck you into an abyss of misery. I believe you do. I knew but for reasons known and unknown I wanted to fix the person so I could have those happy times again. It is not going to happen with this man. You are going to end up in a cycle that can be so unpredictable you may not be able to handle it. You are wanting something from someone who just cannot give you what you need. I doubt if he is a bad person and probably has some good qualities, but I sincerely doubt he will ever be able to be consistent. And don't ever feel bad about being honest and sharing how you feel. You are not the only one who has ever gone down this road and still had trouble letting go. Please talk about this with your therapist and see if she can help you be strong. I may be wrong but I get a sense that the minute he comes around you are going to let him in and get sucked into this unhealthy mans life even deeper. I hope you can stay strong. I know all too well how easy it is to do so, and how hard it is to cut it off completely and move on. I hope you can get some comfort from your friends and children.
  • @arcshines I wanted to touch base on something else you mentioned. I know it is upsetting to you that he just doesn't tell you he can't give you what you need, or that it isn't fair to you. That may be an easy task for a healthy man to come to that conclusion. But you must remember where he is! What his problems are! That he didn't change or get better for a previous partner /wife and children. I don't want you to be upset by what I am going to say now, because I was where you are, so please don't feel I am passing judgement at all. But you mentioned still trying to work through some feelings from a past relationship. I feel you probably still need some therapy before you get into another relationship that is going to be painful in one way or the other. You can't put two people together that need to work on themselves and expect it's going to be like some fairy tale romance. I think you may be showing some signs of neediness. As needing another person to fill whatever void you may have in your life. Walk away from this and work on yourself so your life can be what you want it to be. Sending a hug.
  • @tiredmom He called me last night as I was right in the middle of reading your post. He was telling me how much he misses me, that he can't sleep at night, thinks about my face all the time, etc... I usually try to be positive and cheerful on the phone with him, but I was feeling really sad, and I told him how hard this is for me too and I started crying. It was really emotional. :(

    @tiredmom No need to apologize for suggesting that I may be needy! I am, lol. I absolutely have some needy tendencies due to always trying to fill the void. I definitely have some abandonment issues going back to my relationship with my father, and I can see how I'm transferring that onto this guy. I do realize that his "leaving" doesn't have anything to do with me. He's been going to rehabs and trying to get help since long before he met me. But him going away definitely triggers those feelings in me. He is also needy himself. More than me actually. It's not a great dynamic.

    You're right that I have my own issues as well that prevent me from being able to be in a healthy relationship. I have often thought about the two of us as two people who are way too dysfunctional to be in a relationship together. He's got his issues and I've got mine, and together it would be very difficult to have a healthy mutually fulfilling relationship. Him being unable to tell me that he can't be in a relationship... I guess you could say the same of me! Something is preventing me from letting go, and the same is true for him. We're both unable to let go because there are very strong needs being met, as unhealthy as the relationship may be. Co-dependency right there I guess...?

    Since my divorce two years ago I have been involved with a guy in some way. When one relationship would end I'd quickly get into another one. I have this deep feeling of discomfort being alone and not engaging with a man. I know it's something I need to address because no man will fill the voids or bring me the happiness that I have to be able to find within myself.

    I was so lonely and unhappy in my marriage. Ten years married and 12 years together before that. Feeling so alone for so long has made me try to cling on to whatever love or affection these guys have given me, no matter how unhealthy the relationship was. I'm thinking of one guy in particular who was so toxic and so bad for me, but when I was in the thick of it I thought he was the most amazing man ever and was terrified of losing him. He ended up disappearing without a trace and I never heard from him again. I was completely devastated.

    I'm trying really hard to reflect and look within myself to find the strength to make the right choices. One thing I can say is that I don't think I can handle this guy leaving again. It has been really painful. Having him go back and forth between being okay and then going into crisis and needing to go back to rehab is obviously not sustainable. I know it can't continue this way. I realize that I should cut my losses now in order to avoid the pain and chaos and hurt that will come with getting more and more involved.

    @tiredmom thank you again so much for all your words of support.
  • @arcshines You have quite a bit of insight into yourself and the toxicity of this relationship. Now take that insight and apply it to your life. I'm not sure about the numbers, some researchers say that about 20% of the population falls into this anxious attachment category. Where the feeling of Abandonment or fear of being alone can kick our butts. This is why so many will end one relationship and before you know it they're in another one, but it usually ends up the same kind of situation with just a new face.

    A great way to really heal this fear of being alone or fear of Abandonment is to take a season of your life and commit to single. I know that it's challenging, but if you commit to a journey of healing and therapy to really dig deep, you'll be able to heal on a larger-scale emotionally and when you do decide to date again, you will attract a healthier person.

    Ross Rosenberg has a great book called the human magnet syndrome. I learned a lot in this book and how my insecurities and fears underneath the service attracted those who were more on the selfish or narcissistic or unavailable or addiction side. Like Opposites Attract so to speak. The antidote to doing the same thing over and over is to do something different, and that means taking a certain amount of time to really commit to being single and sitting with these uncomfortable feelings, while working through them with a therapist or support group. I hope that you'll consider this. The easy thing to do is to let toxic people back into your life or latch onto someone shows up toxic or just simply emotionally unavailable. I can say that this helped me tremendously.
  • @arcshines... Someone said something on this forum a while back that made a lot of sense with regards to a relationship that was "rocky." She said "If you're not happy now, how do you think you're going to feel 5 years from now?" Or something to that effect. That really hit me as a great way of looking at the status of a relationship. So, maybe ask yourself that question and see what your answer is. Just a thought.

    Sending you hugs today.
  • @arcshines I totally understand everything you are feeling, and I am so sorry that this is happening to you. It's never easy and it certainly isn't a good thing. But the good thing is you seem to at least be able to see that this is not going to be a good healthy relationship where your needs will be met. The great insight you have regarding yourself and the possible reasons you may have this unhealthy attachment is half the battle. Some people aren't even able to see that or be truthful with themselves. But you are and that is a good thing. I know it is extremely painful for you. But I think you are probably a very loving person and you deserve happiness. It's sad you were in an unhappy and lonely marriage for so long. But you are away from that and now you have the opportunity to have a happier and healthier life. I'm sure you don't want an emotional repeat of what your life was like in the past. Sometimes when we are needy we attract needy people. His situation of being in and out of rehab and having mental health issues is very sad of course and I am sure you are probably a very compassionate woman and maybe also a very good caretaker. But you already have two children you have to take care of. Do you want another one? Because that is what it will turn into. Seriously! All the while not having your own needs met. It surely feels good when we are told we mean something to that person or they miss us, care about us, whatever. But the reality is those are words from someone else who is needy and who eventually will suck the life out of us because of all their problems. My story with a person such as the man you're describing is a very very sad one. I could probably write a best selling book about it. Lets say I started my relationship with him at 13 years old and had to let go in my early 30's. Then I got into another relationship with another man who wasn't good for me, but I didn't want to let go. Thank god I finally came to my senses. I think you should probably have a heart to heart talk with him. You could tell him you do care about him and you want him to get help and to get better so he can have a good life, but you have your own things to work on and this is too hard for you, and you need to work on yourself also. That you are very sorry that things are the way they are but you feel it would be best for you to move on and work on yourself., but you are happy for the good times you did have together and you are wanting nothing but the best for him. That you need to focus on yourself and your children. Then just stick to that. Feel the loss and get support from your friends and the people on this forum. And continue to see your therapist. I'm not saying it will be easy, but you can do it! And just keep in mind it is for the best and there WILL come a time when you find someone who can be good for you. You certainly deserve happiness and everything good. Sending you a very big hug! Feel free to post to me anytime.
  • @arcshines Apparently @dominica was posting to you while I was typing so I didn't see anything she said. She is 100% spot on! Taking some time to just being single is great advice. And everything else she said is certainly true also.
  • @tiredmom you're awesome! thanks for sharing your strength and encouragement here for others... wonderful insight and advice!!

    hope you're having a beautiful day!
  • Thank you @dominica I got all those man issues in line, now if I could only get it together and figure out how to handle things with my mentally ill, addicted son, life would be great! I'm working on it but I figured I could share with others what I DO know. You have a beautiful day also!
  • @dominica thank you so much. That is a great idea to take at least a season "off" from dating. I've been trying to do that for a while. A year would probably be better but even three months just to start would be a really good first step. I will definitely check out that book. Thank you!

    @DeanD your comment reminds me of something else I hear a lot - past behavior predicts future behavior

    @tiredmom thank you again for all your really straightforward and sensible advice. I have to admit however that as I was reading through your advice on what to say to him, I was picturing myself doing it and it was giving me such anxiety. I have this panicky feeling and sense of dread even thinking about walking away. This piece in particular is something I'm working on in therapy right now. What exactly is it that I'm afraid will happen if he's gone.

    Thanks again everyone for all the support.
  • @dominica You mentioned also the tendency to be with men who are emotionally unavailable and/or narcissists. Every guy I've been involved with, every single one, from the most casual dating situation to my marriage, has been emotionally unavailable or a narcissist, or both. My father is as well and looking back now with the insight I have, I recognize a lot of the dynamics I have in my relationships as similar to what went on with my parents.

    Funny though (and I am so grateful for this), I have none of these issues in my friendships or work relationships. I have a great career and do well at my job, and I'm holding down the fort pretty well I must say for a single mother of two young kids. I own my own home, my kids are doing well, and other than my romantic relationships and the ongoing headaches from my ex husband, life is pretty good. So at least I have that!
  • @arcshines So glad you now have insight regarding the possible dynamics and similarities between your relationships and the relationship of your parents. Sometimes I think we have wounds that are not healed from our childhood so we replay that same scenario, trying to make sense of it, or trying to get it right. If that makes any sense to you. It's hard to describe. Kind of like going through the same scenes in a movie hoping to rewrite the bad parts, but the actors keep having the same attitude and just are not able to act in any other way, so the movie keeps having the same feel in the end. I too didn't have problems with my relationships with friends or coworkers. Like you I had a good career, two children and owned my own home and took care of everything myself. My daughter is working on her doctorate and is doing well, but she knows some of the things I had to go through with her father and I am sure it had some effect on her. You said when you read what I said about telling him you were going to move on made you feel panicky. Has anyone ever became very mean or abusive towards you when the relationship ended? Could you be feeling afraid. Or do you feel guilty for needing to walk away from someone who is needy and in a bad situation. You are probably a caretaker like myself and tend to feel sorry for people, and forget you should be feeling sorry for yourself instead. Just a thought It could also be your own fears of abandonment that are kicking in. Just guessing but definitely talk to your therapist about it. Just keep your senses and know this relationship is not going to work out. I think your friends are right. It will probably ruin your life. Stay strong and keep working on you!
  • @arcshines I'm super glad that you're seeing the correlation between your unavailable father and the men you have been choosing. There's a great way to break this pattern, and that is to completely dive in and work on your unhealed wounds. This is best done with a therapist and learning about things like codependency recovery, inner child healing, healing old Wounds, and so on. Now that's a light shown on those Shadows, you get to work on those shadows and integrate them, which will ultimately free you up to choose healthier partners.

    Yay! Keep on the journey! you're doing it!
  • @tiredmom great insight! love the bad movie scenes analogy!! like the bad characters have the SCRIPT already written and can stray from it..... yet we are there hoping they will....

    look for people reading better scripts lol
  • Thanks @dominica ! I'm glad it made some sense. Sometimes it's hard to find the right words describing a feeling or situation. Lol
  • @tiredmom the movie scripts is a perfect analogy! I'm choosing different actors each time but we keep playing out the same scene.
  • @arcshines I was talking to one of my friends about the forum and how helpful it has been. Both of us went through divorces at the same time in our early 30's. We were both in relationships with men who had serious issues and went through alot. Anyway we were both single and would go out together and hoped we could find someone new to have a relationship with. So of course you want a better relationship, love, security, companionship, and happiness. So we started talking about the past and here is a hypothetical situation to think about. There is a woman who was in a very bad relationship. She was lonely and had 2 children to care for, along with many other responsibilities. She finally gets out of that terrible relationship and she is hoping to meet someone new. Someone who can give her all the things she lacked in her marriage. She is hoping she can finally meet someone who she knows will be there for her, and who is a better man than her husband was. She is hoping for love and peace in her life, finally! So now she is sitting around with her friends and talking about wanting to meet that perfect someone. So her friends say maybe you will meet someone at work. Maybe you will meet someone at church. Maybe one of us can introduce you to a nice guy. Or maybe you'll meet someone at a social function. Another friend says maybe my husband has a great friend who is single? Then another friend suggests you go hang out near the local drug/alcohol rehab and look for a new man there. Or better yet, go check out the nearest psychiatric hospital for a new potential partner? Do you see where I am going with this? Is that what you would do to look for someone who is going to give you the kind of relationship you need? No, you wouldn't. So don't do it now. Stay strong and really think about your needs. What you want in life. What kind of relationship will make you happy, and not just satisfy your loneliness. Think about your future and how far you have came. And believe in yourself that you deserve better. And don't feel bad if you're struggling to be strong or let go. Keep coming here for help and support.
  • Hi @arcshines tryna go to sleep yet stumbled upon your thread and wanted to mention a little of my own experience in hopes it may help.

    I have been going to therapy and it’s helped as well as this forum and learning about different conditions/disorders & personality traits I’ve got due to my childhood. I used to dismiss any title that made me feel imperfect and tried to ignore that I am the woman I am because of these things.

    I have OCPD (recently questioning if it might be closer to OCD instead), I’m a perfectionist, I’m intelligent, I am the eldest adult child of an alcoholic, I am an addict, I have misplaced longing for many people from my past, I had a serious codependent relationship with my birth mother that became a reoccurring dynamic of a few romantic relationships I had, I have issues with abandonment, I had very low self worth, self knowledge & self esteem...

    As I made my journey through self-discovery over the last year, I was introduced to Love & Relationship Coaching. I explored the idea by watching free videos, then got a few programs and then did some coaching. I learned some really valuable information that I had never heard before and also had many “lightbulb” moments.

    When I realized I had no idea who I was and had such a low opinion of myself, it became obvious why I was involving myself with these abusive (some addict) men. I was searching for love outward when I needed to find it within. I did not love myself. I did not feel ok. I did not feel good enough. I had this skewed view of myself that I honestly thought if anyone actually saw the real me, they would reject me... I thought this because I was already rejecting myself.

    You can’t find true love without fully loving yourself first! There are no mistake or bad decisions in life, yet there are lessons to be learned. If you are choosing partners who are not healthy choices there is a reason. We will attract and be attracted to those who represent what we are not giving ourselves. If we choose a narcissist who cannot love us, it’s because we do not love ourselves. If we are choosing addicts who we have to “mother”, worry about, and look after then it’s because we are not nurturing and taking care of us.
    There are some experiences that we cannot fully “get over” and heal from and that’s ok. Maybe you are not meant to get over some things and instead are to do some inner child work and let her know you are in charge.

    Let me know if I can do anything to help!
  • @blueorchid thank you for sharing your valuable insight and part of your journey. so glad you've been "doing the work" to heal and grow your self-love. it's quite a journey huh? :)

    i tend to look at my relationship as a "prop" to heal certain things in myself. b/c triggers will come haha. not that it's always pleasant, b/c it's not. the ego does not like to humble itself... but, we can learn...we can heal...we can grow...we can awaken to so much!

    have a beautiful weekend!
  • @dominica I bought the Human Magnet book today on Amazon. I can't wait to start reading it. I have a few other books that I've read before but am thinking of dusting off - Disentangle by Nancy Johnson (definitely recommend that one), and Men Who Can't Love.

    @tiredmom I love the hypothetical you gave. Because it's true, never in a million years would I look for a man to date at a mental hospital or rehab! What's interesting about this guy I'm with is that I didn't even really like him all that much when we were first dating. But when he revealed to me all his problems the day before he left for rehab, it was like a switch was flipped in my brain and I said THIS IS THE GUY FOR ME! From that point forward I started falling for him deeper and deeper. Most women would have backed off, way off. But I did the opposite. I think what you said about trying to replay mistakes and hurts of the past with people who remind us of our fathers and/or past partners makes a lot of sense.

    @blueorchid thank you so much for sharing your story. I really appreciate it. I love what you said about how when we choose partners who need caretakers and who we worry about all the time, it means that we're not taking care of ourselves. It's like we really want to take care of ourselves, but we don't feel like we're worthy of it, so we transfer it onto another person who needs care. Then we exhaust ourselves taking care of that person, because it's never enough, and we start feeling neglected along the way. We say, who's going to take care of me? And the person who gets taken care of is never fully "fixed," because they've got issues of their own that are preventing them from nurturing themselves. It's like two people who don't have self-worth, and one is the giver and the other the taker.

    I don't know if any of you are familiar with the Survivor to Thriver workbook. I've been working on it in therapy and I'm beginning to see how my childhood experiences are shaping the choices I'm making today.

    @tiredmom your advice to simply make a clean break and walk away is really the best advice I could take. I just don't feel like I'm strong enough to do that right now, but I feel like I mad a baby step last night. Something happened during a conversation with him that really hurt me, and I thought about something you said about how the hurt and pain will only get worse. I have to stop before I suffer even more pain.

    So about a month ago he and I were having this very close and intimate conversation about some of the things he's been going through, and he was telling me how devastating it's been being away from his kids. He was even crying. He was confiding in me and opening up, and I felt like we were bonding in a way we hadn't before. During that conversation he asked me to be at an important court date he has coming up next month having to do with his divorce. I told him I would be there and that I would support him in any way I could. He asked me to help him along the journey to getting his kids back. I said I would. So, a very intense conversation, but I felt that our bond really strengthened that day, and we had taken a step toward another level of trust.

    Well last night we were texting and I mentioned the court date, and me being there. He was taken aback, and acting all weird and freaked out that I wanted to be there. I reminded him that he asked me to go. I asked him to tell me, did he want me there? And he hesitated. I said, don't you remember that conversation? He made a joke about it and said haha maybe I had too much wine that night. Then he tried to change the subject. He completely forgot. Sometimes in my interactions with him, I feel like I don't know which way is up. So I really can't tell if I'm overreacting and blowing this out of proportion. But I was really upset. Upset because that moment we had, that conversation, meant a lot to me. And him asking me to be there at court meant something to me too. It meant that he trusts me and loves me. I got upset but since we were texting I couldn't say much. He only gets his phone for 30 minutes a night for email and texting and he was almost out of time at this point, so I just told him that I was hurt by the fact that he didn't remember this, because it had meant something to me. He apologized, then his time ended.

    I was lying in bed after that, feeling so angry and hurt and upset. I started thinking about how this was just another in the series of hurts and disappointments he has caused me in the short time we've been together. And I started thinking really hard about how those hurts and painful moments will continue on. And if I can't "brush off" these minor letdowns, how will I handle bigger ones in the future?

    I ended up sending him a fairly long text late last night because I had to get the thoughts off my mind. I know they always say that communication to loved ones in rehab should be supportive and positive, but I was so hurt. He will read it tonight when he gets his phone for his 30 minutes. I basically explained to him why this latest incident hurt me. I told him that I understand that he's got issues and problems that he's working on, but meanwhile there is another human being over here with feelings and emotions. I told him that I'm hurting, that this is not fair to me. That all the pain and tears he's caused me while we've been together should not be happening. I said that I believe he does care about me, but that I need more than he is able to give. I told him that he should be focusing on himself and his treatment, and that I just don't want to hurt anymore.

    I have no idea how he'll respond. He seems to be a calmer, more level headed person while he's in rehab. If I had sent that message when he was having his full blown anxiety and/or mania he wouldn't take it well. He seems to have a hard time grasping my feelings. I think he gets it on a certain level but for the most part he is self-absorbed because of his mental health issues and addiction problems. So he says, yeah I understand that she feels x, y or z... but then it goes right back to being all about him. And that gets to one of the main issues. If my feelings are being neglected, even if he doesn't mean to do it, my needs are not being met and I will never be happy with him.

    Sorry for the long post, thanks all for listening. :)
  • Oh one other thing I forgot to mention that I believe may resonate with you @arcshines

    The anger, resentment & disappointment u feel is direct proportion to the unbalanced energy you are putting into the relationship.
  • @arcshines I don't even know where to begin in response to your post, but I am going to try because I really want to help you. First you said you don't feel strong enough to make a clean break at this time. I'm concerned that your continuing this is only going to suck you in deeper and you will end up weaker as time passes, not stronger. You seem to be desperately grasping for intimacy with this man. You talked about bonding with him in a way you never have before. I don't think you understand the magnitude and severity of his problems. The fact he doesn't remember such a conversation is huge. Don't you see that this is how it is always going to be. Do you understand the dynamics of his mental illness? Each day his mind will think and work differently. I don't know you but I truly am concerned for you. I just don't think you fully understand what you are setting yourself up for. I don't think it was a good idea to even tell him you would go to court with him. This is not your fight or responsibility. It seems the more problems he has the more you are trying to be involved. And regarding him getting his kids back. You have no idea what his wife might have gone through and why he doesn't have his kids. Apparently SOMEONE feels it's better for the kids without him at this time. There is nothing worse for a woman who has been through hell and back with her man or husband to have some other woman who doesn't know what all happened in her relationship to come along and try to join the fight with him. I'm telling you as nicely as I can, you are going to destroy your own life if you keep this going. It's obvious there is something terribly wrong with him. You haven't been with him for that long but you are hanging on for dear life, and grasping at any good moment you can get. Have you ever lived with or been in a relationship with someone who is bipolar AND addicted?? If not, you have no clue the nightmare you are getting yourself into. You have got to give it every ounce of strength you have and make that clean break. If you don't I guarantee there is not going to be a happy ending. HE IS NOT CAPABLE of being any different. I'm sure his wife gave it everything she had to help him and then finally had to give up. Just because he opened up to you on an emotional level and confided his hurts doesn't mean he loves you or trusts you and you are so special to him. It just means it was his emotional issues of the day! Tomorrow is a different story as you just found out when he didn't even remember the conversation!! God, I have lived half of my lifetime with a person such as he! Bipolar and alcoholic!! The sadder he was the more I loved him. He was like a wounded little child. You are already so attached and I am concerned you don't have any idea of the severity of what his problems are. There came a time where I had to keep my ex-husband away from my children until I felt he was more stable and was able to be a good parent without putting his pitiful garbage on them. And I can tell you if some other woman would have got involved in what I thought was best for my children I would have ripped her face off! Just giving you a perspective from the other side. I can tell you from experience that one day he will cry and moan about his kids and the next day do all the wrong things and prove why he is in the situation he is in. He needs to work on himself. Stay sober and get his mental health in check. And honestly, there are some people who are never able to get there for one reason or the other. I'll say this again. You are setting yourself up for more misery than you can imagine. I'm not trying to hurt you or be hard on you about this. I am telling you the truth. The longer you keep this going the harder it is going to be. And for some strange reason still completely unknown to me, the more you hurt the harder it is to let go. It doesn't make sense, but that is the way it is, and trust me, you are going to get hurt again and again and again and again! Get out while you still have some clarity regarding this toxic relationship.
  • @arcshines I was scrolling back a bit to your older posts and saw where you said you were feeling ashamed... if that is true and with what u said about him not remembering your conversation that meant so much to you, what is it that is keeping you from moving on?

    How do you give yourself permission to do what you know is wrong? How do you give yourself permission to not do what you know is right?

    What future do you see with this man? If things were reversed and instead of it being you, a best friend or sister was holding on to a relationship with him, would you support her? You say every relationship you have ever been in has been the same type of guy and you recognize it is related to childhood experiences and your father, is it maybe time to end this cycle? I know it’s difficult, however it only gets worse as @tiredmom said.

    Something I have learned that may resonate with you is the strong feelings I thought was love was actually my addiction through being codependent with addicts. I didn’t love myself and instead over compensated by trying to help, rescue, & save men who could not be saved. I feel so much of my old self in your words and I really wish I had ended things long before I did.

    What does your therapist say? Are you being completely honest and vulnerable? Are you being honest with yourself? What about this relationship do you find appealing? If you could have it your way, how would you change things?
  • @tiredmom @blueorchid @DeanD @dominica Thank you all again for your support. I have read and reread all of your responses to help me continue to work through this.

    I'm back here writing today really just to vent and get the feelings out. I'm not looking for advice really, because I already know what the best course of action is. I don't need to be told that I'm ruining my life because I can already feel the effect this relationship has had on me in the short time I've been involved.

    I spoke with him last week about the important/intimate conversation we had that he forgot. He apologized but didn't really offer any other explanation. I guess there really isn't any. I thought about it the entire next day. When we spoke that night I told him how hard this has all been on me, and that if we're going to be together, I need to know that things will get better. That he'll follow through with his treatment, stay on his meds, etc. I told him that I can't go through this again, him being gone. I told him that I want to be with him and support him but I need to know that he'll do what he needs to do to make it work as well. He said he understood what I was saying. We got cut short because his allowed phone time ended and we said goodbye.

    Since that phone call it's like a light switch was flipped in terms of his behavior and demeanor. He's suddenly extremely distant, not calling or replying to my texts or emails. It's been awful. Up until then it was as if I was the most amazing woman in the world and he couldn't even believe he had me in his life. In fact he told me that all the time. He loved me so intensely, told me he wanted to be with me forever, always. He wrote me poems, made paintings for me, told me day in and day out how much he adores me. He wanted to be with me all the time. Now it's as if I don't exist. (@tiredmom I wonder if his intense feelings of love were related to a manic episode, and now he's come down.) I sent him a text each night last week. Without fail, every night I'd see the message go through with a read receipt at the start of his allowed phone time, and he never replied or called. Friday I was having a terrible time, feeling regret over so many things - flipping out on him when he forgot that conversation, telling him I was done, being overly needy, wanting him too much, loving him too much, clinging to him. I wrote him a long email. One of the most painful things about all this is that in this email, I opened up to him about a really painful experience from my past. My brother died of suicide when I was 21. I am extremely closed off about this and never speak about it to anyone. I barely even spoke about it with my ex husband who I was with for over 20 years, apart from informing him of it at some point after we met when we had a discussion about our families. And even with him, I told him my family's version of the story which is that he died of a natural cause. I was too ashamed to bring up the suicide. On one of my first dates with this current man, it came up. He made me feel comfortable talking about it and he was so sympathetic and caring toward me. I talked about this in the email, telling him how much that meant to me, that he made me feel okay talking about this, because it's one of my most painful memories, the day my father found my brother dead in our house, and I've held it inside all these years. I feel so sad and hurt because he has not responded to me at all. He texted me Friday night and tried to say that he hadn't been getting my texts. He said that he's been sick and going to sleep right after dinner, and missing his phone time. So he lied about that (has this guy never heard of read receipts on texts?) I asked if he got my email. He claimed it went to his spam folder, and that he was "reading it now." I have not heard from him since. Yesterday I thought for sure that would be the night I would finally hear from him. I thought he'd read the email and find it in himself to reach out. But no, nothing. Even in the few texts he did send me, he sounded like a different person. The words were flat, emotionless. No I love you, I miss you, how's my baby doll, etc. It's as if he's completely turned away from me. I cannot even express how much this hurts.

    I'm having such a hard time over all this. Since he went away to rehab last month I've been struggling so much. I'm forgetting important things, like paying bills. Some of my work is slipping because on some days I can't find the energy to follow through on tasks. I'm blowing off the gym. Dirty dishes are piling up, the house is a mess. I can't sleep. I can't eat, I've lost over 10 pounds. My on and off depression I've struggled with my whole life is back. I'm trying so hard to stay strong. Yesterday I spent the day with my kids and their friends. I did a decent job of putting this all out of my mind and having a good day with them, but thank god they went to their father's house in the evening. I was absolutely exhausted. I came home and went to bed at 7:00.

    I'm seeing my therapist once a week and working through it. She has been urging me for over a year to read Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood. I finally picked it up the other day, and my god - has it been an eye opener. I'm trying really hard to move on. I made a list the other day of goals, things I can do to feel better. Things like exercise every day, meditate, reach out to friends, etc. It's really hard to meditate when you have big fat tears rolling down your cheeks. I know this man is not well. I know that this is not my fault. I tried so hard to make this work and to love him and support him. But all I did was be a needy girlfriend and make myself miserable.

    Thank you all for listening.
  • @arcshines... You can come here and vent anytime you'd like. We will always listen, without judgment.

    Sending you love, light, hugs, and hope today. Be kind to yourself, okay? You deserve it. <3
  • @arcshines I am so glad to hear from you, as I have been wondering how you are doing. I'm sorry you are having so much emotional pain, and that things have been difficult for you. I think you might be right that he was in the midst of a manic episode during some of time in your relationship with him. The changes you described in his demeanor /attitude are pretty typical for someone who has bipolar. You are seeing first hand what a relationship will probably be like with this man. You just never know when things will be good or not. I got my first look at Bipolar during my teen years with my then boyfriends father. It was not pretty. His father was a different person about every other month and required many hospital stays. My boyfriend suffered immensely having to deal with him. If I would have known that the illness could be inherited, I never would have married my boyfriend. That boyfriend ended up being diagnosed with bipolar and became an alcoholic. And yes, they can be extremely loving at times. That is what makes it so hard to pull away. You remember that and want that person all the time, but you just don't get it. And it is also typical that he is lying about not getting texts, etc. If a man wants to talk to you, he will watch the clock like you do, just waiting for that minute to make a phone call. The behavior you have to endure from people like that will put you on an emotional roller coaster ride and you are already feeling the effects of that ride. I feel so bad you. I know exactly how you feel. You are describing everything I went through to a T. The inability to get things done. Paying the bills late, trouble at work. Not being able to concentrate, etc. You are still pretty early in the relationship. Imagine being married and sharing a household. Omg! What a nightmare it can be. At one point I was such an emotional wreck I got to the point I couldn't go to my job. I had to take several months off work just to try to pull myself together because I was so consumed in the craziness. I will not tell you what to do or give advice. Just want you to know that what you are experiencing now is really just the beginning of it. That is why I said previously you won't be able to deal with all. You can't fix him or make him better. Even if he said all the right things and told you he will take his meds, do all the right things, and whatever else you want to hear, doesn't mean that is what he will do. It doesn't mean he will get better either. I can only imagine how intoxicating it was for you when he was in the manic phase. They are soooo intense while in the moment so to speak. You are everything to them during that time and they can be insatiable lovers too. Lol Another thing I found interesting about your post is the fact that you opened up to him about your brother. I don't know how to put this, but could you have seen something in him even on a subconscious level, that made you think about your brother. Your brother must have suffered from some type of illness to have committed suicide. Perhaps you were drawn to this man because he suffers too and you want to save him? I'm sorry that you had to experience that with your brother. That is not something you should ever be ashamed of. There are millions of people in the world who suffer many kinds of mental illness, and sometimes that happens. My father committed suicide also. I spoke to him the night before and knew he was feeling bad. I made him promise he wasn't going to do anything stupid, and he said he wasn't, but in the morning he took his own life. He was an alcoholic and had other issues too. Anyone who asked about him, I just told the truth and they can think what they want. I don't care about other people. Regarding my ex-husband., I met him when I was 13 years old. There was so much craziness in his life because of his family situation, I felt sorry for him and I became the person he leaned on for everything. I kind of became like his mother. His own mother end up running off to another state and didn't tell anyone where she was going. Even her own children. She did this to get away from his father that she just couldn't deal with anymore. When I was young I thought she was the most evil person in the world. She deserted my ex-husband when he was only 14 years old. His father was too unstable to care for him and he had to sleep in a car for 3 months until someone took him in. But knowing everything I know now as an adult, I think his mother was smart to get away. And if I knew back then what I know now, I would never have been with him through my teen years, then marry him. And believe me, I loved him with every ounce of my being. We were inseparable, totally co-dependent and it was always EXTREMELY intense. And it was EXTREMELY unhealthy!! I loved him, and I hated him, because no matter what I did I couldn't fix him. And believe me, I did everything humanly possible for him through the years. I'm only telling you all this so you will know, there is someone out there who truly understands what you might be feeling. I pray that you can somehow get to a point of strength and do what is best for you so you can get through the hurt and move into a better place for yourself. The place you are in right now is definitely not good for you. If you are experiencing this much misery and uncertainty now I can only imagine how deep you can get in this situation if it continues. It gets harder, not easier, the longer you hold on. I will say a prayer that you gain the strength to move past this and be able to focus on something besides him. Please take care of yourself and know we're all here for you and we do understand, without judgement.
  • @DeanD and @tiredmom thank you so much. @tiredmom you sharing your stories really means so much to me. It's really helpful to hear that others have gone through similar experiences. I'm so sorry to hear about what you've been through, with your father, and with your ex husband. And I know you've had some issues with your son as well. I know you speak from a lot of experience. I have never been involved with anyone like this before. Yes, I've been hurt by other men, but for the most part they were just selfish guys who sort of took me along for a ride. I don't think this guy means to hurt me at all. I think his behavior is just who he is, because of his disease and addiction. He once said to me, if I ever say or do anything to upset you, please understand that it's my brain. That's what's really sad about this disease. I've given myself quite the Google education over the last couple of months on bipolar disorder. I've read so many personal stories of the significant others, and also stories from people with bipolar themselves who describe the pain their partners have been through.

    If you don't mind me asking, how long have you been divorced, and how did your ex husband end up doing? What ever happened with his father?

    What's really surprising to me is how quickly I got wrapped up with this man. I've known him for about a year, but we didn't really start dating until May. I started getting pulled in almost right away. I remember the first month or so I was taken aback by the intensity of his emotions, his strong feelings toward me, and how he expressed those feelings so readily. Even more painful than him being gone, is the possibility that his love for me wasn't real and enduring, that is was some kind of artifact of his brain chemistry.

    He really was the most loving man I've known. And I do miss that person so much. There was one night I went to see him at his hotel, and before I left I went into the bathroom to use his brush to fix my hair. He walked me over to the bed, told me to lay down and close my eyes, and started brushing my hair. It was the most romantic and intimate thing anyone's ever done. I know it's a little sickening, lol. But we really were like lovesick teenagers. More than those crazy intense highs, I also miss the every day moments we had. When he would tease me about how loud I snore, when we'd cook dinner together, watch the news, share a pizza, or sit on my back deck and drink coffee in the morning. We were like a normal everyday couple in that way. Sometimes I miss those "normal" moments more than anything else.

    I realize how much I was becoming really co-dependent. I did his laundry, I cooked for him, had him over, and I lent/gave him a considerable amount of money (first time I am admitting that here. In his defense, he didn't ask for it. It was my idea. He wouldn't take it at first, and I had to talk him into it, but he finally did accept the money. It was either that or he would have started sleeping in his car. I couldn't let him do it. I realize how enabling that was, but I just couldn't sit by without helping him. Every night that my kids were at their father's house, he'd stay with me. The other nights he'd spend around $200 a night on hotels, and he was running out of money).

    I keep obsessing over the possible reasons why he's not contacting me. Is it the bipolar symptoms? His medications? Is he taking the advice of a therapist who's advising him to not be in a relationship? Did he meet someone at rehab? Did he have some sort of moment of clarity in therapy that made him realize he doesn't love me? I understand that he's in rehab. He's in sessions from 8:30 to 4:00 every day, with some evening sessions as well. I have been in intensive therapy myself and I know how draining and exhausting it can be. I have no idea what he's going through down there, and I know his priority is to try to get better. His priority isn't me. But the uncertainty, being left in the dark... it's almost too much to handle. His phone time starts at 9pm. Just a week ago, my phone would ring or the text tone would go off at exactly 9:00, or 9:01, lol. Just like you said @tiredmom, he was anxious and excited to talk to me so he'd be in touch right away. And he'd tell me how terribly he missed me, he loved me, thought about me all night long and wished he could reach over and touch me. And now... poof. Gone. Nothing.

    I understand everything you say @tiredmom about this only getting worse, and I believe it. I cannot imagine feeling this kind of pain over and over, or more intensely. I keep thinking about whether he'll ever contact me again. He comes home from rehab next week. I have so many questions swirling around in my head and am so confused and conflicted. What if he contacts me when he gets home? What will I say? Will he want to see me? What if he doesn't contact me? Will I contact him? What would I say, and what if he doesn't reply? Will I be even more devastated than I am now?

    I don't do well with uncertainty. Even in relationships with "normal" men. I find myself always trying to fix things and be understood. I can't sit by, it creates a lot of anxiety in me. This relationship has been full of uncertainty.

    Thanks again @tiredmom for all your kind words and thoughts. It is so very much appreciated.
  • @arcshines First let me say that yes, you have a lot of questions? Second, you are always going to have these questions if you stay in this relationship. He is an unwell person and he probably can't even answer them himself. I'm not judging you by any means, because I have been there, but the fact he was living in a hotel should have been the first indication something was wrong. That would have been the time to run away from the relationship. I will tell you that there is no way in the world for two people to have a good relationship if even one person is unhealthy. And I swear I am not judging you because I been there, but you are becoming obsessed with this man, his problems, how he truly feels, or not feels and everything in between. You, like myself are a caretaker. I'm glad you read up on bipolar and learned something by researching, but the words in a book don't even come close to describing what it really is and the FEELINGs that you have when you are dealing with a loved one with this illness. You asked about my ex-husband's father. Well the answer is he was sick his entire life. Sometimes he was o.k. (short periods), but most of the time he was unstable and had many hospitalizations throughout his entire life. My ex husband gave up alcohol only to become addicted to pain meds. He married another woman who was somewhat of a normal person who took over the so-called caretaking if him. She end up an emotional train wreck and sickly and skinny and became just as unwell as he was. She was not that way when she met him. She was a single parent with one child, and a full time job. Eventually she wasn't even able to work. He never did get well. He was back and forth with different issues and mental health problems. As he got older he got worse mentally. He started imagining he had bugs under his skin at times and became paranoid at other times. He was 50 years old when he had a heart attack. He went without oxygen for too long and was put on life support. My children, who are his children, went to the hospital to be with him when they turned off the machines because he was brain dead. Of course I went with them, because there was no way I would want them there without my support. But honestly, there was no way I could NOT be there. I was with him from 13 until 33. We had been divorced for about 18 years or so, but there was still a place in my heart for that beautiful teenage boy I loved with every ounce of my being. When my kids went into the room and they shut the machine off I wasn't there. His crazy wife was too out of it to go in, because basically she was just a mentally unwell person herself. And she did NOT want me anywhere near him. She was always jealous even though I was remarried. But it end up at the time when he passed she was in the bathroom and my son in law came out and said my daughter wanted to see me and to sneak back. Of course I went back in the room and was terribly sad when I saw him gone. And it hurt knowing he always suffered with mental illness. He had small sores on his legs from picking at himself. My kids left the room and I told him I was sorry I wasn't able to make him better and take all his pain away. And I told him he was always the love that was the most special to me. And that I understand and forgive him for all the pain he caused me, and I was sorry for hurting him so bad when I had to walk away, but I know in my heart he knew he was bad for me. And then I said I pray all your sickness has been taken from you now and you are at peace. When I left the room I told him I would never forget his beautiful eyes and how he would brush my hair. And that is 100% true. He always liked to brush my hair. And yes it was so loving and intimate. But then there were times where he hurt me very much. Times I was afraid. I still have letters he wrote me years ago declaring his love. He wrote poems and would sing to me and insert my name in love songs. He never really grew up. It was very sad, his life. But at this point I just feel like he is at peace. My kids said they are so glad I was the last person to see him. They said they didn't think he would ever have peace if I wasn't. His wife never did go in and she never knew I did. She died last year. She had a stroke and when my daughter went to her home to get her father's things the house was filled with empty bottles of wine. She wasn't even 60 years old. A relationship like that can destroy a person. And if they are not strong themselves it will destroy you sooner than later. I would walk away while my feet were still able to carry me. You have so many questions you don't have answers to and I really doubt there is a definitive answer. Sometimes we just have to stop asking the questions and accept we may never know, and just take it in stride as a life lesson and save ourselves no matter how much it hurts. Just try to stay strong and take care of yourself and children. I think you know what is best for you, so now you just have to do it. Hope you understand where I am coming from.
  • @tiredmom thank you so much for sharing your story. It honestly brought tears to my eyes. It must have been so difficult for you all those years. I can't imagine going through that. And what a sad life and sad ending for your ex-husband. I hope he was able to find some kind of solace and peace. I think you're right, that you and I are very similar, and it is so damn painful to see someone you love suffer and struggle like that. I had an honest conversation with my social worker friend who has a lot of experience working with bipolar people. She has been saying things similar to you, that I really need to walk away. That if he doesn't commit to meds, he'll only get worse. And even if the meds work, they might suddenly stop working. And the meds can lead to other health problems. She told me the story of her cousin who was bipolar. He spent his life back and forth in and out of hospitals, and staying with various family members until they'd be done dealing with him. He dated women and the relationships would never work out. He eventually became homeless and used drugs and alcohol. He died last year in his 50s after being physically ill for a long time.

    How very sad about your ex's second wife too. That her life was basically destroyed. She became his caretaker, and it sounds like it just sucked her dry mentally and emotionally.

    Yes, the hotel thing was a red flag. In fact, there were several things I knew about him when I first met him last year that were red flags. I KNEW they were red flags, but I decided to start dating him anyway. This is my pattern that I need to break.

    You are right that I'm obsessed. I'm consumed with thoughts of him, going over every single thing in my head of what could be happening, what he's said, what I've said, what did he mean, and on and on and on. I'm trying so hard to break out of it. Even now I want to crawl back into bed but I'm going to somehow get myself to the gym. I seriously want to throw up. I can't handle him cutting himself off from me. I felt like I could handle his erratic behavior, his moodiness, the paranoia... but this I cannot. I totally recognize that my response to all of this is not healthy. The book I'm reading is shedding so much light on why I get involved with men like this (he is the first addict/seriously mentally ill person I've been involved with but not the first "unavailable" man). It's really painful to get through but so necessary to try to get to the root of why I keep doing this to myself.

    Thank you for the prayers and kind words.
  • @arcshines Hey there. I'm glad that you're making yourself go to the gym and that you're getting so much out of the book you're reading. I think the more you become aware of the pattern, the easier it will be for you to break it. This journey to discover who you are without a man in your life and this healing Journey might not be the easiest thing, but you will reap great rewards as you continue. So proud of you!
  • Keep taking good care of yourself, @arcshines. YOU are the most important person in your life and you deserve the very best of everything.

    Sending you hugs, love, and light on this Monday morning. I hope you have a good week.
  • @arcshines Everything your social worker friend told you is exactly right. They don't always take the meds. And even if they do, it doesn't mean everything is suddenly o.k. And yes, sometimes meds don't work at all. Also the meds that are supposed to help with the mental issues, sometimes cause physical problems. Alot of these types of meds can be very hard on the liver and other parts of the body. It's a lifelong battle and it's full of uncertainty. Then when you have issues like alcoholism or drug addiction along with the illness, it is a whole new situation!! I honestly am afraid for you. You are already emotionally ATTACHED! And the paranoia aspect of his symptoms honestly is frightening. When people are experiencing paranoia their behavior can become very erratic and depending upon what they are thinking can also be dangerous. There has to be a very good reason his ex-wife doesn't allow him around his children. I'm worried for your children if you continue to have him in your life. I'm not saying he will do anything to hurt your children, but them just having to witness someone's illness is not good. Or if you get so caught up in his life and craziness I am sure you will NOT mentally be able to be the mother you need to be for your children. I know exactly what you are experiencing emotionally. I remember it even after all these years. It's like there is some unknown strong magnetic force keeping you from making the break you need to make. I had to see a therapist for almost a year before I could leave my ex-husband. I felt like a mother bird wanting to fly away from the nest and leave a sickly wounded baby bird behind. I know that sounds a little strange, but that is how I felt. I felt that way even though he was treating me terribly and was becoming impossible to live with. He was always a good and loving father in regards to my children, but at the same time I didn't want them growing up with him, because he was so mentally unhealthy. I still loved him when I separated from him, but it was best for my children. The illness is a terrible one. And now my son deals with bipolar and I am having to relive the same life all over again, but with my son. Sometimes he reminds me so much of his father in his behavior I get such a feeling of rage that I hold in, I end up with a migraine headache. It is not a fun life. Write little notes to yourself and put them in your room to remind you to be strong. Scream into a pillow. Go outside and run to clear your head. Get angry! Do whatever it takes to break that emotional attachment you are feeling. I'm concerned the minute he gets back and comes around you will be with him like a much needed drug, and you will get in deeper and deeper and this will just continue until you can barely function. I know this all sounds so dramatic, but I know how you are feeling and thinking and I know how strong it is. You will become more and more enmeshed in his illness until you are just as ill. I think you deserve better than that. You deserve love and stability and so do your children. You are not going to get that from this current relationship. And I am not basing any of my thoughts of your relationship on my exact experience. I am basing it on the things you have said about him and yourself. I really hope you can move past this and take care of yourself. And I hope you will get the strength to tell him you feel it is best to cut ties with him. Until you do that, you will not be able to get past the pain and move forward to a better place in your life. I know it is hard, but what other choice is there besides continuing and having even more pain? Please take care of yourself.
  • @tiredmom Good morning, I've been spending some time today reading through your replies to me. They have been so very helpful to get me through these weeks and months. And I really appreciate you taking the time to provide your insight and share your experiences.

    I know that I need to let go and move on, so what I'm about to write is sort of counter to that because it's an obsessive narrative of everything I've already said! Sometimes it's therapeutic to write it down, even if it does reinforce my tendency to ruminate... Thank you again for listening.

    When I was in my treatment program last year they had us use a feelings wheel to identify what we were feeling. Right now I'm feeling sad, but I think I'm feeling a mix of emotions... sadness, disappointment, abandonment, betrayal, humiliation, disillusionment, rejection... Wow, there are a lot, lol!

    I heard from him a week ago. He sent me a text that was more like an email in that it was a bit long and he wasn't looking for a back and forth discussion. He was distant and a bit defensive. He said I made him feel like he had done something wrong by having gone away to rehab. He also brought up a talk we had earlier on where he told me he was thinking of coming home early because he missed me, but I told him he should stay and finish out the entire treatment program (as if to say, you're upset that I'm gone but you're the one who told me to stay here when I said I wanted to come home). He then went on to say that he was doing well, hoped I was okay, and said he was coming home "soon." He also said that my emails I've been sending have been comforting to him and helping him get through some "terrible" days he's been having. I wrote back a brief reply saying that I'm glad he's doing well, glad he's coming back soon, and happy to hear that my emails have been helping him. He didn't contact me again, and last night I texted him. Almost embarrassed to say what I wrote after all the times I've been told to get away, let go, etc... I basically told him that I love him, am thinking about him, am so happy he's coming home and hope I can see him soon. He read the text but didn't respond.

    He never calls anymore, hardly texts me, is distant... He's supposed to be coming home tomorrow but I have no idea for sure or when he's getting into town because he doesn't communicate with me any more. I do feel that he's pulling away and I'm desperately clinging on. I still can't believe that within a 30 day period he can go from loving me and wanting me in his life so completely and undeniably to barely bothering to contact me. @tiredmom I know we've talked about this - the bipolar's tendency to go in and out, get close then disappear...

    I feel like such a fool sometimes when I think back. I'm thinking about the large amount of money I gave him, having him at my house, putting him up in hotel rooms when he needed a place to stay, cooking for him, helping him, supporting him, reassuring him, loving him... It's like all of that love just went right through him, and look where I am now. It just hurts like hell.

    I'm also frustrated by his last message. In the conversation where he told me he wanted to come back early, I told him that I missed him too but that I thought he really should complete the whole program so he can be better when he gets home, for us, and for the future. He agreed. And now he's throwing it back at me. Um, does he not understand that I was trying to help him do something that was best for him? And for him to say that I'm making him feel like he did something wrong by going to rehab... I have always said that I'm glad he's getting treatment and happy he's getting better. I was being honest with him and telling him that even though I understood that, it's hard for me with him being away and I'm lonely without him. Was that so bad....?? He has a habit of doing that. When I express any hurt or anger or upset feelings, he turns it around and makes it about him. Then it becomes a situation where I feel like I have to make him feel better, when I was the one with the upset feelings to begin with. It's almost as if he "steals" my emotions - like I'm not allowed to be hurt or angry. I'll share a story that gives an example of this. When he was at his prior rehab, we stayed close during the time he was away, and I bought him a gift to give him when he got home. Kind of like a token to show him that I loved him and was proud of him. It was very personal and related to art, which he loves. I researched the hell out of this gift and spent a lot of time choosing it so it could be perfect for him. He was really appreciative when I gave it to him and seemed genuinely touched. A few days after I gave it to him, he was at a restaurant and happened to have the gift with him. He later told me that a waiter at the restaurant noticed the gift and commented on how much he loved it and how nice it was, and they struck up a conversation about it. Maybe a week or so later this man and I were eating at the restaurant and that waiter was working. When he saw the waiter, he got this look on his face like he suddenly had to do something, and he told me he'd be right back. He went to his car, got the gift, and gave it to the waiter. As in, here, this is yours. I want you to have it because you loved it so much. I just kind of sat there with my jaw on the floor. I was so shocked that I didn't know what to say. I decided to let it go initially, but it kept bothering me so I eventually brought it up. I was crying and told him how much thought I had put into that gift, how it really meant a lot to me, that it was meant to be a token of how much I love him, and how much it hurt me when he gave it away, as if it didn't mean anything to him. He apologized and seemed genuinely shocked and upset at my reaction. He said something along the lines of, I walk around thinking I'm superman, and I just want to make everyone happy. He said he thought I'd be proud of him and happy that he was "spreading joy," as it were. We seemed to understand one another at the end of the conversation, and he said he understood my feelings and apologized. But then he did this... he spent the next few hours texting me about it. He said things like, why are you doing this to me, why are you trying to hurt me. You're crushing me with this. Etc etc etc... So even though it was ME who was upset by something that HE did, he turned it around 180 degrees and made it about me who was hurting him.

    Despite all of this, I still just miss him so much. I hate to think that he's gone. Maybe while he's been in treatment he's realized that he can't possibly meet my needs, and he's hoping I'll get the hint rather than having to be direct with me. I miss the moments with him. I really fell in love with the fantasy of how things could have been for us. I know that I was avoiding reality. I had blinders on to the fact that he was homeless, in a precarious mental situation, and drinking. I ignored the fact that the wine bottles would be empty in the morning after us going to bed with them half full. I ignored the smell of alcohol on him when we'd meet in the middle of the day for coffee or a walk. I ignored the seriousness of the fact that he'd wake up once or twice every night with terrible panic attacks. I thought with the right support and direction, he could get on the right path. Even now, I can't believe he's shut me out. I loved him in every way, gave him so much of myself. I don't have the emotional strength to chalk it up to his mental illness and addiction and not take it personally. I'm taking it so very personally and that's my problem. My social worker friend said to me the other day, your problem is that you are thinking that the reason he's not contacting you is because there's something wrong with you. That you are inadequate in some way, or you did something wrong. She said look where he is, he's in a rehab facility, that should be your first clue that this is happening due to his issues and problems, not because there's anything wrong with you. I know she's right, but it's so hard to get rid of those old core beliefs that I'm just not good enough, that I'm not worthy and that I'm always making mistakes. I feel like he stopped loving me because of something I did or said, or because he realized that I'm not as wonderful and amazing as he thought. It's so hard because the more I ruminate, the more I say "if only", like if only I didn't say that, if only I had chosen different words, if only I hadn't gotten annoyed with him that day he forgot to bring his meds to my house, if only I hadn't teased him that one time about sleeping past noon, if only I hadn't been so quiet and reserved when I met his mother... when I go over the "if onlys" long enough in my head, I start to really believe that this is all my fault. Like I drove him away with my mistakes and my insecurities and faults. I had the opportunity to go on a two day yoga retreat this past week with that social worker friend. It was such a great experience, and I spent a lot of time doing yoga, meditating, attending talks, getting outside, etc. The common theme was living in the present, acceptance, letting go, intentions, and being mindful. I was really getting it while I was there but I'm having a hard time translating it to my current situation. One of the things that stuck with me the most was when one of the yoga instructors talked about the Buddhist concept of clinging or grasping being the source of suffering, and our ability to end that clinging or grasping by living more in the present. I'm trying to get to this place through meditation.

    Every time I get involved with these types of guys, it always ends the same way. They end up being the one who leaves me, bewildered and brokenhearted. It makes me feel really helpless and powerless, because I never have the strength to leave before things get bad. I hang on until they are the one to walk away, and it's so terrible for my self esteem. I'm left feeling kind of lost and hollow, because when I'm with them I give so much of myself. When they leave there's nothing left, and I end up in this place, empty and having to build myself back up, wondering what the hell happened, again.
  • @arcshines I read your post and I have a great deal to say about it. I will try to reply to you tonight. I just got word earlier today that my brother is in critical condition and on life support. Noone has any idea what happened to him. He was found unconscious. Ttyl
  • @tiredmom Omg I'm so sorry to hear that. Please take care of your family and don't worry about posting tonight. I'll be praying for you and your brother for the best possible outcome.
  • @arcshines . I really feel bad that you are struggling and apparently are suffering too. I had to give my response to your post a lot of thought because, damn, you need someone to help you through this, and sometimes I am not good at beating around the bush so to speak. I can see you are probably in a bit of a delicate emotional state, but in order to be helpful I have to be real with what I have to say. First, it is very obvious to me, based on your writing style and vocabulary, you are an intelligent person!! So it is quite obvious the decisions you are making regarding this relationship, and the struggle you have by not letting go and holding on for dear life, has everything to do with your emotional issues and certainly not your ability to think in an intelligent manner. Here is the number 1 problem. You are stuck on the FANTASY of how things COULD HAVE BEEN!!! There was NOTHING real from the beginning that was going to turn this relationship into something wonderful and healthy. You said those words. And you admitted you overlooked everything that was right in front of your face. The drinking. The homelessness, needing to put him up in hotels, etc. You ignored all of the red flags that were right there because of your own neediness and insecurities. Please don't be offended by that comment. You need to snap out of that make believe scenario regarding this man. You said you did so many things for him, you loved him in every way, and gave so much of yourself. That all sounds pretty intense. Your feelings and actions and doing all of the above were pretty intense. I believe you did alot of this not so much because you wanted to be there solely for him. When there is that much intensity involved it is because you desperately want him to love you and you are expecting something back!! That is where the serious pain is coming from that you are experiencing. It's because you didn't get what you were hoping for from him. You are not inadequate but in my opinion, it can be smothering to another person when the person they are involved with has their own issues and insecurities and needs so much from them. I know you have had some previous relationships where the men had some problems, but if you ever manage to get past this relationship and start dating, I think it would help you if you didn't dive in with so much intensity. Noone wants to be involved with someone who is a sap. Who bends over backwards for another while mot taking care of themselves. And when you overlook every flaw you make yourself look desperate instead of self confident . If you don't feel self confident, fake it if you have to. Back to the current situation. I'm sorry you were hurt after giving him a special gift, that he decided to pass on to some random waiter. It's a pretty odd comment that he said he walks around thinking he is superman and wants to make everyone happy. Superman is not homeless and needing a woman to take care of him so to speak. He is in no position to go around acting like superman. In my opinion he was exhibiting IMPULSIVE Behavior. Part of being bipolar and not really thinking about what he was actually doing. The intension might have been good but really that was ridiculous. Can't you see what you are up against? And the fact he turned it around and then gets all dramatic and texts for two hours saying how can you do this to me, bla bla bla, shows me he is not rational and you can just expect more of the same going forward. So if that is what you are looking for in a man, then by all means, stay in it and be prepared to end up twice as miserable as you are now. You talked about some other situations where he misinterpreted what you were trying to explain. Ie: Rehab, your feelings, etc. You are taking his reactions and responses personally, when you already know he has mental health issues. He Is Not Well! You need to understand this! It's like milking a cow if you want orange juice. You're dealing with someone who isn't always in their right state of mind. Add alcohol and it becomes even worse. So stop thinking its you. Stop the what ifs. I'm sure you are a lovely woman, who with a little bit of help can find a good, loving, and healthy partner at some point. There is only so much we can do for someone with these types of problems. I know how you are feeling. I'm not judging or trying to be critical. I've been there myself. I know all about the emotional agony you are feeling. Honestly, I don't know if you are going to be able to get out of this at this time, even though it's the best thing. You would actually be lucky if he is the one to make that move. I hope I didn't make you feel bad. I want to be helpful and I am only hoping good things for you. Noone should hurt so badly, and we all get sucked in by someone. That is why we are here talking on this site. Hope you are ok.
  • @tiredmom Thank you. You didn't make me feel bad at all. I almost wanted to defend myself a little bit on the neediness and smothering, but really I have to admit that you are right. I don't quite know what happened. When I started dating him he was the one who was needy and smothering. I was a little freaked out by him texting all the time, professing his feelings, asking where the relationship was headed, all of that. And he was very emotional and sensitive. I had to be careful not to hurt him. Not like any other guy I'd been with. But I got pulled in and once that happened, my neediness came out too. It's like his neediness triggered my own. I remember thinking to myself, this man needs solace and so do I, maybe we'd be good for each other! (Ya right). It became a situation where I encouraged him to express all his needs, and I readily met them. I thought that if I provided him with the love, care, comfort, and reassurance he needed, he would reciprocate. And when he didn't, I just poured in even more. And as I did that and my needs continued to not be met, the frustration and resentment built. I responded to that by trying even harder to meet his needs. As if he could learn by watching me. Like, look what this amazing woman is doing, I should be doing the same! There were times when he tried, but I always felt it come off as awkward and flat, as if he didn't know quite how to do it. The times when he did show love and care toward me are those moments that I've been hanging on to.

    It's a pattern I have generally, being a people pleaser (especially wanting to please men). With two of the guys I recently dated I jumped through hoops to see them. I'd always rearrange my schedule and do all the driving when we got together so it was convenient for them. And what did I get out of it? Yes I got to spend time with the guy, but how did it make me feel that I was twisting myself into a pretzel to accommodate them, with them never lifting a finger for me? Terrible. With one of the guys, his birthday came up a few months after we had been dating. I cooked him his favorite meal, got him this beautiful cake from a nice bakery that I drove quite a bit out of my way to get to, and gave him a nice card and small gift. Just about a month later he dumped me via text, quite unceremoniously, telling me that he never really had feelings for me. It's like the more I try to do nice things for men, the worse they treat me. Anyway...

    He contacted me last night. He's still in rehab, and is trying to find temporary housing. I think he may end up at a sober house but it sounds like he's staying in rehab until that arrangement is made. That's obviously a positive step for him - coming back home and going back to living in hotels or sleeping in his car clearly isn't going to work.

    I need to bring down this emotional intensity I'm feeling and let go, I just don't know quite how to go about it.

    @tiredmom how is your brother?
  • Hello @arcshines . Thank you for asking about my brother. I got word last night that he woke up and was able to come off the ventilator. And he is able to speak. He's going to be o.k. I'm so relieved. It's a very good thing you are able to see and admit to your own feelings of being a little needy also. There are people out there in the world who can bring out the best in us, and then there are those who seem to bring out the worst in us. At least you are aware of how you might have got to this place. It is never a good sign when someone is expressing so much sensitivity and insecurity so early in a relationship. And with all the other problems you were aware of that he had it would have been better not to get involved with him. But at the same time, I can understand how you might have thought that if you were very loving and reassuring, that you would get the same in return. Unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way. Especially when there is mental illness involved. You were meeting the needs of someone who suffers mental illness and all the emotional issues the illness can bring out. People suffering from mental illness and addiction are barely able to care for themselves let alone meet the needs of another person. I am so happy to hear that he will be going to a sober living home and that you didn't offer to bring him to your home. Please never do that no matter what happens. I can tell you are a very caring and compassionate person, but remember you cannot fix anyone! It's just not possible. The way you described your past dating experience saying you went out of your way to accommodate those men and twisted yourself into a pretzel, is exactly what I was trying to get at when I said noone wants a sap. And by doing that you projected an image of a desperate woman I'm guessing. In my experience, when you come off that way, you always end up getting burned by these men. Sometimes a woman tries too hard, and that can be a turnoff. In my experience with men, and observing other peoples relationships, including friends, my sons and his friends attitudes towards women, it seems the men fall madly in love with the woman who gives them a run for their money so to speak. I think in general men like a challenge. Not some woman who is falling all over herself trying desperately to love and please a man every minute of the day. Or who comes off as someone who is so desperate for love she will change everything about herself to make sure the man is getting everything he wants. I have seen women who are complete bitches have men who are madly in love with them. I'm not saying to be a bitch, but you need to find a happy medium. The more shit you take the more you'll get. This is advice for going forward. It doesn't pertain so much to this current gentleman. He has completely separate issues. If you ever start dating again don't go out your way to be so accommodating. Don't change your schedule, your plans or anything else. Don't come off as someone who will drop everything to be with the man. You need to show you are not desperate. You have to show confidence, not neediness. And don't take any shit. You can be fun, caring, a great to be around without appearing desperate. That will be much more attractive to a HEALTHY man. And that is what you deserve! A healthy partner who is ABLE to reciprocate. I think if you continue with this current man you may end up feeling crazy and mentally ill yourself. There is no rational answers sometimes when dealing with mentally ill people and when you try to make sense of the situation and it just doesn't make sense, it can suck you dry emotionally and make you ill yourself. You have to believe me on this. You don't want to go there, because as you can see, it's already hard to come back from. I would suggest you keep talking to your therapist. And try to limit contact with him. You have to start somewhere. And I honestly believe it would be better for him if he could just focus on himself. I just wish you would have ended it while he was away where he would have some professional support. So I am thinking you need to at least say you are not sure where the relationship is going from here , but you want him to focus on getting better for himself. Remember he is not your problem. You should spend time doing things for yourself. Spend time with friends. Maybe you could journal your feelings and needs and write how it wouldn't be possible to have the relationship with this man and all the reasons why m Then read and reread it every day. Just some ideas. Or simply just end it and deal with the pain and disappointment knowing with time, you WILL get over it. Hope you're having a good day.
  • Thanks @tiredmom So glad to hear your brother will be okay. That must have been an awful scare.

    Your dating advice is so spot on, and it's consistent with what I've read in basically every dating advice book or article I've read (I've read them all, lol!). It's what my friends say too. Never chase a man. Don't be overly accommodating. Don't be too nice. It always seems when I meet a guy, they chase me and pursue me like crazy, and I barely give them the time of day. But then somehow my vibe changes when I start to care about him, and I get desperate. I can almost see myself doing it and I don't quite know how to stop it. I guess when I start to get attached, I worry that I'll lose him because of those deep fears of abandonment. And when that comes to the surface it projects as desperation and neediness. My problem also is that I attract (and am attracted to) men who are a bit of a shit show.

    It was really hard to read his text. He sounded like the "old" him, the one I wish I could have back. He was saying some really sweet things and telling me how good he's feeling and how he can't wait to come back, and how much he misses me. It makes me want him so much, even if I could just have him here next to me one last time. I think about how it's been six weeks now since I've seen him, which of course reminds me of why that is in the first place. Because he's not well. And that just makes me so sad. :(
  • @arcshines I really do understand where you're coming from. The good thing is you are at least aware of what happens to turn things in the relationship. I haven't ever read any books on the subject. What I think and know just comes from experience and I know what can make me want to turn away. Your situation with this man is very dad. The compassionate enabler in me feels bad for him and I would like to save him too! Lol But I know there will be much suffering with him. It's us so terribly sad and I am sorry for you. I can't think of anything harder, more gut wrenching, heartbreaking, and difficult, than loving a man with those types of problems. If only we were able to help and fix everyone who needs it, that would be a beautiful thing. But unfortunately, we are not able no matter how hard we try. Your friends really have your best interest at heart. The only way you can stop that behavior when you start to fall for someone is to remind yourself to keep taking care of yourself. You are going to have to accept that sometimes a relationship doesn't work out. People part for different reasons. Sometimes it turns out they weren't so compatible after all. Try not to look at it as if it's being abandoned, if that makes any sense. We are all just people and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. I will admit I am a little worried for you. When this current man comes home and wants to see you, what will you do? If you see him one time, that will turn into ten times. And you can't mess with someone's head. I would try to keep it on just a friendly level if I were you. You don't want this to start up all over again. You're in a tough spot for sure. Please take care of you first. Hope you had a good day.
  • @arcshines you do seem to have some awareness of the underlying reasons you fall into such relationships. fear of abandonment is a common fear... a key factor for you will be to really work with a good therapist concerning that fear... where it stems from...tools to process and integrate it... THEN you will be able to attract different types of relationships...better ones. AND, don't be afraid to ask men if they've "done the work" on themselves.... i mean, how much have they worked on themselves? healing their shit? haha we've all picked up some faulty programming growing up... or faced some trauma, neglect, abuse, etc.... relationships are easier when each one "does the inner healing work" consistently.

    just a thought.
  • For some reason, I'm not able to see most of the latest posts on this thread. :(
    I just want to say that I'm praying for both of you, @arcshines and @tiredmom. And for your brother, too, @tiredmom. <3
  • @tiredmom @dominica @DeanD thank you all so much for the support.

    @tiredmom I'm really so very grateful for the insight and guidance. It's really very kind of you, and I am carefully considering every piece of advice you've given me. With things being uncertain and a bit in limbo at the moment, this is a good opportunity for me to take a step back. For the last month and a half I had been looking to October 1st as the day he'd come home, when I'd see where things stand and how things would be, but now I'm not sure when or if he's coming back. I actually wouldn't be surprised if he ends up staying down in Florida as he does have family there. He's distanced himself over the last few weeks, and I have to admit that this is a positive thing for both of us. For him because he needs to focus on trying to stay well, and for me because I need to break my emotional dependence on him. I'll be continuing with therapy, and I also plan to really carve out some time each day for meditation and yoga. I also will try really hard not to contact him. As much as I'd like to reach out and ask him how he's doing, if he found a place to stay, or when he's coming home, etc, I won't. I'll keep you posted and let you know how things turn out. :)
  • @arcshines I'm glad you are thinking this through. I'll post more later but for now, how about putting a post-it note on your phone, that says DO NOT CALL HIM!!!
  • @tiredmom having such a hard time the last couple of days. I was feeling okay initially about trying to move on, focusing on myself, etc. But since yesterday I'm just feeling so down about everything. I keep reading his last text to me, all the nice and loving words, and wondering... if he misses me so much then where is he? I had the urge to respond to him. Luckily on that day I had my therapy session, and she talked me down from sending him another long emotional narrative. I found an online support group for spouses and significant others of people with bipolar. It's been really helpful. There are so many women in my situation, and women who have been dealing with this for years in their marriages. It's really striking that in all of these stories I read, the details are different, but the basic elements are all the same. The relationships all have similar progressions, with everything starting out wonderful and amazing, but then the person enters mania or depression and things just sort of spiral from there.

    How is your brother doing? How are things recently with your son?
  • @arcshines Wow, I must have some kind of telepathic connection to you. Lol I am replying so quickly because I actually was just thinking about you and how you are doing. I had a feeling you might be struggling so I just got on the forum to send you a post, and there was just one from you! My brother is doing better and has left the hospital. He had massive seizures. That is what caused his problems. He had a massive tumor removed from his brain about 10 years ago, so it is really uncertain why he is having seizures. But he will be o.k. Thanks for asking. Also I have been a little busy dealing with my bipolar son. He is also an addict and he had a little slip up, but is good for now. I am sorry you are having a hard time. And it is good you were able to talk to your therapist and did not call him. Even if he says nice things and he probably does miss you, you must remind yourself he is a man who has many issues and is not well. He could feel and act differently from one week or day to the next. Some people who have bipolar can actually have many mood changes in a day. Trust me, I know. It's called rapid cycling. Yes, there are many women who are in the same situation. But the reality is you don't HAVE to be one of them. Some of these women may be married to the man, have children together, or may have been together for years. Perhaps they knew their partner before the onset of the illness so now they chose to stay in the relationship for whatever reason. But as I said, you don't have to get yourself involved in this type of life. You haven't been with him that long and you are already needing help from a therapist regarding this relationship. You are needing to be one of us on this forum, and now you are on a support group for people dealing with a bipolar loved one. And let's not forget he has a problem with alcohol. Is this really the life you are looking for? Do you want to continue to suffer. Are you ready to possibly suffer your entire lifetime? A relationship should feel good and you don't feel good. Stop reading that text over and over and over again! Your making it so much harder on yourself. They are just words and whether they mean anything or not, it doesn't change anything. You need to stop focusing on the few little good things that made you feel good. You're still reaching for that dream of everything being great and probably holding on to the good moments. I have letters here that I kept for almost 30 years from my ex-husband. They are so full of love and promises. And I know they were legitimate feelings and wants from him. But it was words. It never changed anything. His problems didn't disappear. I had to go through so much because of his problems. I stayed with him for as long as was humanly possible. I did love him. I knew him since I was 13 years old. He wasn't someone I just met in my 30's or 40's. We had a long history. You are choosing to go through this. I think you are still holding on to something??? I'm telling you for your own good, stay strong and get out while you still have your sanity! You can't begin to heal from this until you actually make the break and decide to move on. Then you can deal with the loss of whatever you feel you actually lost, and start to heal and eventually get over it. I don't think you are doing this man any favors by not telling him you feel that you need to move on because it is too difficult to be in the relationship. If he has any trouble dealing with that he is at least in a place where he can get support. I don't know exactly how to put this into words, but I am wondering if perhaps you're own issues and insecurities, mixed with his issues and mental illness could be a toxic combination. Usually, it is much better if at least one person is very strong and can deal with the mentally ill person in a healthy way. The two of you could bring out each others emotional issues. Your own neediness could be a trigger for his problems and vice versa. The two of you together could keep each other sick. I'm not sure if I am explaining this correctly, but you probably get what I am saying. Bottom line - it is not good. Please do yourself a favor and end this now. And you will probably be helping him also. You might actually feel relieved and he may also. He has alot going on and he should be focusing on his problems, not a woman. You need to save YOURSELF. And perhaps the day will come when you are happy and enjoying life, instead of having to get on different forums and hurting. I hope you are having a good day. You deserve to be happy!
  • @arcshines I had more I wanted to say, but someone showed up at my door. I wanted to talk about your children a little bit. I don't know their ages but I feel I need to speak about them a little bit. You stated previously that you were in a bad relationship prior to this man. When you think about the kind of man you would want to be around your children, what type of person comes to mind. I am sure you are a great mother, but sometimes when we are in a relationship such as the one you are experiencing now, our children can be affected by it also. Even when we are taking care of our children's needs, they can still pick up on their mothers mood or unhappiness. Sometimes they seem to be fine, but they are not. When you are in a relationship such as this one, it can sap your energy, make you preoccupied, sad, depressed, and a whole lot of other things. Children know and feel more than you think. Imagine perhaps, living with this man. How good would it be for your children to have a mother who is always having to take care of and deal with her partners problems? I don't care if you're Super Mom. It is not possible to fully be there for them, when having to go through so much!! When I decided to divorce my husband, who is my children's father, I still loved him, but I felt my children were better off not growing up with him. My husband was good to our children, but he had many problems and I didn't feel they should have to be a part of it. My kids are grown now and they have no issue with the fact I divorced him. They feel I did the right thing. They maintained a close relationship with him but did not have to live with him and could chose for themselves when they wanted to be around or not. If you are not strong enough to do what you need to for yourself, do it for your children. They need to grow up happy and healthy and have a mother who is happy and can be there for them fully. You will not be able to do that if you are constantly in turmoil or having a crisis or situation with this man. It will take too much out of you. And you need to set an example for them. I end up with the same kind of man my mother had. That is what I learned!! And it took a long time to get to a point where I was able to do something differently. Noone wants to live with someone who is constantly upset, depressed, or preoccupied. Or someone who has to stop everything so they can deal with the next crisis. So if you are struggling for yourself, think about what kind of life you want for your children. Does this man look like the person who is going to give you a great life and also be there as a stable figure for them also?? I really doubt that. So keep talking to your therapist and reaching out in all ways possible for help and strength. You will be o.k.
  • @tiredmom thank you thank you thank you! So much. I really appreciate your replies. Everything you say always makes sense. I understand 100% what you are saying about the toxicity, with each of us bringing out one another's issues. The problems in this relationship have without a doubt brought to the surface my emotional difficulties and have exacerbated my underlying depression and anxiety. In the past weeks I have even been recalling past abuse and trauma from many years ago, things that have not crossed my mind in years. I'm trying really hard to stay well and focus on my job and my kids. I've been going to the gym even when I feel like I'm physically moving through mud. I'm seeing my therapist each week. Tonight I'm having dinner with an old friend which I'm really looking forward to.

    Anyway... moving onward. I'm glad to hear your brother will be okay. And also really glad to hear that your son is stable. Hope you're having a great weekend. :)
  • @arcshines I am not surprised in the least that old wounds and issues are coming to the surface for you. I have experienced the EXACT same thing! Can you imagine years of that kind of turmoil. It really does take a toll and I know a couple of women who after dealing with a sick loved one end up in a psychiatric facility themselves. It is not difficult to spiral downhill emotionally and mentally yourself in these types of situations. The uncertainty and all the emotional turmoil can stir up so many things within ourselves . That is why when we are in a healthy relationship, we ourselves become healthier people. We are better able to focus and be positive and progress ourselves instead of falling backwards into our old wounds. It's nice you are going out with a friend tonight. See how that feels to be out just enjoying yourself. Forget about everything else and just stay in the moment while you are there. Hope you have fun. I'll be here all weekend.
  • @tiredmom Your points about my decisions affecting my children all really hit home for me. I know it may seem that I'm focused on nothing but this guy, but my children really are my priority. They are still young, 12 and 7. They've been through so much with the divorce and all I want to do is protect them. I would never want to introduce any drama or chaos into their lives. They're such sweet kids and I love them so much. I feel so bad for them because their father despises me and is so terrible to me, and they see it (especially my older one, the younger one doesn't quite understand as much). My 12 year old son is so much like me. He's very introspective and sensitive, and I know he does pick up on my moods. I try as much as possible to be happy and positive around them.

    I keep having this dream. In the dream I wake up from sleep, and realize that this man is healthy and well and here with me, and that all the bipolar and alcoholic stuff was all just a dream. Then when I actually do wake up, I remember that it's the reality.
  • @arcshines I can tell you are a terrific mom. And I am sure your kids are your priority. Please don't think that I in any way think that you are only focused on this guy. I'm only letting you know how children can be affected if you would stay involved with this man. Perhaps move in together or marry. Also this is still pretty early in the relationship. The longer you are involved and the more time and energy you put into trying to help or fix someone that can't be fixed, the deeper you will get sucked in and you will become less and less healthy. I hope that makes sense. You may think that at 7 years old you don't understand a whole lot, but I remember things from 4-5 years of age. Even young children can sense things. They are more aware than you may think. Your ex-husband is horrible for treating you badly and the children being aware. He sounds like a selfish asshole. As terrible as my ex was towards me at times, I never downed him in front of my kids. I didn't want them to be hurt that way, or be put in the middle. IF you have no serious intentions with this man, and I mean serious intentions where he is also a part of your children's lives possibly at some point, why do you bother? If he is not the kind of man you would want in your kids lives, why is he good enough for you? I don't understand. I think this relationship has already had a serious effect on you. If you are dreaming about him in that way then he has really got to your subconscious as well as your conscious thoughts. Do you think you are going to be able to end this before he comes home, or are you just waiting to see what happens. If he calls are you going to keep this going and get into this even deeper or not? What is it exactly that you are trying to accomplish? Do you want help letting go or are you just looking for comfort until he returns? You should think about that and make a decision. I hope you can make the right choice for your own health and wellbeing. You can't keep going like this forever. And it isn't fair to him either. He is away and hopefully making some progress. Are you just waiting to hear what he wants? Even if he wants to continue seeing you I am not sure that is a very good idea. He could come back o.k. and a month later it is a problem again. Just saying. Keep strong.
  • @tiredmom I didn't mean to come off defensive at all :) I really appreciate so much that you ask all the right questions because they remind me to think hard about what it is that I want. For myself, for my future, for my kids.

    When I first got separated two years ago, I believed that I never wanted to be in a serious relationship again. And no way in hell would I marry again. Understandable of course at that time, being jaded and angry and hurt. Just for a background, my ex husband did not drink, use drugs, cheat, or physically abuse me. So when I try to explain why the marriage ended, sometimes it's hard. I think what it comes down to is that he and I just should never have married. He is a cold and uncaring person, very controlling, judgmental, narcissistic, selfish, and entitled, and with a bad temper to top it off. I never felt love or affection from him. He is very much like my father in many ways, and unfortunately I think I chose him for that reason. We were together for 11 years before we married, and I had many doubts during that time. But I married him anyway because I was approaching my mid-30s and wanted to have kids (stupid reason I know!) I thought having a family with him might bring us closer together. And while having babies did bond us somewhat in that way, overall things generally got worse. Especially after our second child was born. I always felt judged, criticized, not good enough, and unlovable. He never touched me except when we had sex. He never asked how my day was. He constantly talked about himself, about his work. Never asked me about my work or how things were going. He got very angry at me for really stupid things, like putting my feet where they don't belong, forgetting to lock the windows, losing something. He was physically abusive toward the kids a few times and I hated him for that. I could go on and on, but you get the idea! I don't blame him 100% for all of it. I learned from an early age that you don't speak up about things or express your hurts or anger or frustrations, so I just went along all those years being sad and unhappy and never told him how I felt. Occasionally I would blow up at him but then after a few days of silence we'd just go on as if nothing happened, and nothing ever got discussed or resolved. So I was a poor communicator. By the time I told him I wanted a divorce I was done. Completely done. He begged and cried and wanted to try counseling but I said no. Once he realized I wasn't willing to work on the marriage and we were over, he turned on me. He remained in the house for another 7 months, and it was absolute hell. He harassed and threatened me day after day. He hired someone to stalk me. He openly admitted to hiring some scumbag to hack into all my accounts so he could read my emails and texts and see all my online activities. He bugged my phone and put listening devices in my car and around the house. He confronted me almost daily with printouts of texts and emails that I had sent to friends and my lawyer that he had gotten his hands on through the hacking. He hacked into the cell phone of a guy I started dating (unbelievable but true - this is possible!) He took recordings of me using my own cell phone (yes, this is also possible! I would not have believed it if I didn't see it with my own eyes when he confronted me with it). He wrote me pages and pages of emails with crazy accusations. After a while he got really crazy and started accusing ME of stalking HIM. I finally ended up getting a restraining order, but the craziness continues to this day. It's gotten a lot better now that I have a court order preventing him from contacting me directly, but we do still have to communicate through a third party regarding the children. Honestly it's been a total nightmare...

    He absolutely hates me for wanting the divorce and believes that I ruined his life. He said he never wanted to marry and have kids and I forced him into it, and now look what I've done. He told me at one time that he would destroy me and I believe that is what he wants. Many, many times he said he will turn the kids against me, and eventually they will know "the truth." He said that when they're teenagers he's going to show them the emails and texts between me and the guy I was dating to show them what mom did to dad (to this day he believes that the guy I was seeing was the reason for the divorce). He says really messed up things to them all the time about me. You wouldn't believe the things that make their way back to me from my 7 year old daughter. One time she told me that her father said that he will never marry again because mom divorced him and he will never trust women again. Can you freaking believe that??? Like, hello asshole.... are you trying to destroy your poor daughter's future relationships??? Sorry I'm going on and on... but I get really upset when I start thinking about this stuff. It's hard because I can't control what comes out of his mouth when the kids are with him and there is absolutely no need for them to hear these things from their father at this young age. It makes me sad that they have to see their parents in this way. I almost think this is more damaging than the divorce itself. I make a point to never say anything negative about him to the kids, and just try to be the best mother I can. No matter what horrible things he says about me to them, I have to have faith that they will see me for the person I am as their mother who loves them.

    Despite all this drama with my ex, I've realized in the last 6 months or so that I do want to be in a real relationship again. It would be nice to meet someone to settle down with, and yes that would mean introducing him to the kids at some point and moving in together. So it's a valid question you ask - what is the point of being with someone who will never be a suitable person to have around the kids? What is the benefit of that kind of relationship to me? What exactly would I be getting out of it? The questions you ask about what outcome I'm hoping for, what am I seeking, what it is that I want to happen with this guy... honestly these are questions that I have been asking myself every single day since he went away to rehab, now almost 6 weeks ago. It's easy to say what I WANT - I want for him to get better and stay well so that he can be present for me in a relationship. Sort of like the happily ever after. But of course I know that's not a realistic expectation. So what am I doing? I don't know. I feel sort of paralyzed, like I can't make a decision. I guess if I'm being honest with myself (and please don't get too upset when I say this!), what I want to happen is for him to come home, and for us to start seeing each other again, and to have the opportunity to see how he is and how things go. But I know that even if things are great for a few weeks, a few months, or even longer, he can easily deteriorate again. And even though I say I'll "see how things go", I know how easily I can get sucked in because I love him so much. I won't be able to maintain emotional distance. I know this. I know you have tried to warn me many times of how awful things could get. Believe me, when I think about what could happen, I really do feel scared. I'm just starting to put my life back together after the divorce, my career is going really well, and my kids need me. They have an asshole of a father and I absolutely must be here for them to "balance out" his influence. I can't get wrapped up in some chaotic relationship. And besides that, I can't imagine going through what some of the women on that bipolar support group have gone through. I just don't think I could handle the hurt and pain. The cheating, the lying, the disappearing acts... This one story I read is so sad. This woman has been married to a bipolar man for 8 years. They have a baby and a toddler. He just left, moved to another city, to be with a woman he met online and has known for three weeks. How absolutely awful. I cannot even imagine.

    The other possibility is that I never hear from him again. Honestly I think that may be a real possibility, because his love and intense emotions could have been a result of his manic episode, and now that he's been in some intense treatment and on medication he's realizing that it wasn't what he thought it was. Or that he needs to break away from me for whatever reason. Who knows... Your point is also well taken regarding being honest with him. I would never want to hurt him. He asked me all the time to never leave him, to always be there for him. He said once, please don't ever leave me. Don't ever tell me I'm too much. I told him I'd support him no matter what. There is a part of me that feels committed to that promise. But I know I have to protect myself and my kids, and make myself and my kids a priority over a man I've known for a short time. I really do know this. I can't take that promise to a level where meeting that promise is destructive to me and my well being.

    You're right that he's gotten deep into my subconscious. I dreamed about him again this morning. In the dream I was at the airport and going to see him in Florida. I was running late and racing to the gate because I was going to miss my flight. I know this level of preoccupation with him and the constant rumination is not healthy. I'm trying really hard to shift my mind's focus away from him whenever I can. I overslept this morning and missed my yoga class. My kids are with their father and don't come back until tonight, and this could easily turn into one of those days where I stay in bed, depressed. So, my plan is to not let that happen. I'm going to go for a walk, do some yoga at home, run a couple of errands, do some gardening... If I make today a good day that will be a positive step forward. :)

    Thank you @tiredmom for reading through this very long post, and thank you so much again for the support.
  • @arcshines No worries. I didn't think you were being defensive. After reading your post and your description of your husband and marriage, it's no surprise that you fell for this man. Where expressing feelings are concerned, it sounds like they are polar opposites. Just like the two sides of being bipolar. Both are extreme but on the opposite end. If your husband was as cold and rigid as you described, this new gentleman and all of his intense emotions must have felt like a wonderful change in comparison to what you got from your husband on an emotional level. I have a friend who is married to a really good guy. He works hard, helps with housework, does not drink, is not physically abusive, doesn't cheat, cooks on occasion, and many other things. However, he is one of the most emotionless people I have ever encountered. He absolutely gives nothing to her on an emotional level. He is not mean, but he is cold. And she is absolutely miserable with him. She says she feels like he is just some kind of roommate or something. In your situation you also said your ex husband was controlling and critical. That in my opinion is emotional abuse. I can understand that after being in a relationship for so long it just seems like the next step would be to marry even though you knew what he was like. I did the same thing. And the point that I was trying to make about children being affected, you pretty much experienced it for yourself. You married a man just like your father. I did the same. Twice! Now you found this man who is the exact opposite of your husband, and the tables have turned. Your husband was controlling and this man has no control at all, over his issues and his mental illness. So now you want to help him and you got sucked into all his emotional intensity and thought you were getting something wonderful that you didn't get from your ex. I'm sure he probably enjoyed your company, and who wouldn't. You were doing everything for him. Taking care of him. Giving money. Putting him up in hotels, cooking, etc. I'm sure some of his feelings were real, but I am betting some of what you experienced were emotions fueled by alcohol and the illness and symptoms of the illness. This man has a past and the problems he has is going to be a lifelong struggle. You finally freed yourself from a cold marriage, and you deserve to be happy. I'm telling you that what you experienced in your marriage will feel like a walk in the park compared to any relationship with a bipolar alcoholic. And something else you need to think about. If your ex is as manipulative and angry as you described, and he went as far as hacking into your personal business, hired an investigator, doesn't think how he may be harming the children by running you down and blaming you, what makes you think he won't retaliate even further if you get into a serious relationship with a man as this gentleman. This gentleman can't be around his children for some reason. Do you want to take the chance of your husband trying to take your children from you? Maybe at this time your children don't even know about him. But what about going forward? Why stay in a relationship that is going nowhere? I know what you want and there is nothing wrong with wishful thinking, but the reality is if you stay in this relationship I can pretty much guarantee a nightmarish outcome. The man was homeless for God's sake! And now he is in a rehab! I seriously think if he calls you need to tell him you realized you are really not able to be involved in any relationship and need to just focus on yourself and your children are leave it at that without all the emotional bla bla bla. Then move on. Period. Nothing good is going to come of this. If he happens to reach out again you need to tell him. If you see him again you are just going to get sucked back in again. I really don't think you fully understand exactly what it can be like being in a relationship with someone with his problems. You only got a small taste of it. Stop tasting! There may have been some sweet moments but it is nothing compared to the bitterness you will taste if you keep hoping somehow something is going to be wonderful and everything is going to be great. Trust me, it will not be. I think you are already aware of this, so like I said, until you make a clean break, you will not be able to start to move on. I am glad you are going to keep busy today and take care of yourself instead of staying in bed. That is a good thing. I love gardening. It's relaxing and did you know that what we dig in the dirt there is actually something that is released in the soil that helps with depression. I read about it in a magazine. So garden away!! Hope your day is great!
  • Thanks @tiredmom

    I don't know why this hurts so bad. I've had relationships end before, I've been dumped... this is so much more painful than any of those other times.
  • @arcshines It hurts because you are a good compassionate person. Because the situation is truly sad. Because there is someone involved that is a human being that you are unable to change or help. It's because something inside you was stirred up, maybe from your childhood. And the caretaker in you was awakened somehow, but most likely there is some real abandonment issues happening. It will hurt, but not forever.
  • @arcshines sorry I didn't finish the post. I also wanted to say I am sure it wasn't ALL bad. You probably have some good memories too and new relationships can make us feel good in different ways. Now I think you probably feel a lot of disappointment, especially if you didn't realize how this was going to turn out, but was imagining something very different. That in itself can hurt pretty bad. Just try to keep taking care of yourself and try to find some happiness and comfort from wherever you can. It will get easier. Time heals all.
  • @tiredmom Thank you. I know this won't hurt forever and that I'll get over him. I remember one guy I was involved with last year. When that blew up (somewhat predictably but in the most sudden and shocking way), I was devastated. I thought I would never get over him. I wanted to die, and the only thing keeping me going was my kids. I even took 3 months off work because I couldn't function. But as I sit here today one year later I can say with total honesty that I'm completely over him. It took a while, but it happened. So I do have faith that I'll feel better eventually about losing this current relationship.

    You're right, it wasn't all bad and all drama and uncertainty. We did have a lot of good moments, and when things were good, they were SO good. Like Lifetime movie good, which is nothing I've ever experienced before. So you're right, it hurts a lot to come to the realization that the hopes and expectations aren't materializing. I feel like I'm making progress in that even though I still spend a lot of time eagerly and desperately wanting to hear from him, I'm starting to spend more and more time getting my head in reality and seeing the situation for what it is.

    Reminiscing on the good times is keeping me stuck, and keeping me in a state of mind where all I want is to hear from him and be back with him. So I wrote a list of the bad times, and the problems, from the small things to the biggest red flags. Whenever I feel the urge to contact him, I'll look at this list to remind me why I should not. Or I'll write a post here to you which is probably really annoying, lol!

    I think one of my biggest problems is that since splitting with my ex husband two years ago, I have been involved with a man in some way or another. When one relationship would end, I'd start up with another one right away. I used them as something to focus on besides myself. Having a guy to be preoccupied with and getting his attention distracted me from dealing with the pain of my divorce. I feel like I'm okay being alone because I do enjoy my solitude, but I think deep down I do have a fear of being alone. It's more the abandonment fear - the fear of never having anyone, of living and dying alone, of being unwanted and unlovable. So now that this is happening, I'm being faced with that. This is the first time that I haven't had the desire to reach out to another guy to fill the void of the past lost relationship. As much as it hurts I really do want to work through all the pain and really grieve the divorce. I know that I need to do this in order to move on and to ever be ready for a healthy relationship again. I'm trying to distinguish between the pain of losing this man versus the pain of the divorce, and the pain that is associated with the past losses I've felt at earlier times in my life.

    It's been really tough but I'm trying through it, day by day. Thanks @tiredmom and I hope you have a great day.
  • @arcshines... Keep moving forward, my dear. One day at a time. You are a wonderful person. I can tell. I'm so glad you and @tiredmom have had such a great conversation here. That's what this community is all about!

    @tiredmom... I'm relieved to hear that your brother is going to be okay.

    Thoughts and prayers going out to both of you on this Monday. Hope you have a great day and an even better week! :)
  • @arcshines I'm glad to hear you wrote that list. That can be extremely helpful in reminding you of the bad points of the relationship, especially if you're having a weak moment. I did the exact same thing and even left myself little notes to not call with short sentences as to the reasons why. I honestly believe that one little thing is what kept me strong. I also think it is good you're not thinking of wanting another relationship for awhile. You are right when you say you need to work on dealing with the pain of your divorce. I highly doubt you will end up alone. You seem to have no problem attracting someone and I am sure you have a lot to offer someone if you just give yourself a chance and some time to become your best and be confident in yourself. You have plenty of time to find Mr. Right. I know you haven't heard from him in a while. So I don't see why you need to keep any promises you might have made. I just hope if he does call you will be able to tell him you think it's best if you just work on yourself also. I don't think it would be a good idea to rehash anything or talk too long. Sometimes a mans voice alone can make us weak. And I wouldn't worry about any promise you made of never leaving him. They are just words spoken in the moment. People make a promise when they marry, but that doesn't stop them from divorcing. Noone should be expected to stay in a relationship that isn't good for them. I can imagine when your previous relationship ended it was pretty devastating. And you probably thought how will I get over this? We can have 10 failed relationships and think the same thing every time. But we get over it. I think sometimes women get it in their head that HE IS THE ONE! But there is always another, then he is the one, and so on and so on. I really think you will be o.k. You need to get the attitude that you are worth alot and anyone you are willing to date is damn lucky you give him the time of day! Take your power back. Don't settle for anything less than what you want. Then you will attract someone worthy of you. Hope you have a great day too!
  • @DeanD I can tell also that @arcshines is a wonderful person. Being that my ex was alcoholic and bipolar along with others I know with the same issues I feel I can help her through some of what she is feeling and dealing with. Especially since I lived it with my ex husband who I truly loved at one time. It went on for years before I finally knew to just get away.
  • @tiredmom Well... I feel like a total idiot.

    Even after all the things I said today about being strong, not contacting him, making the list, etc etc... I texted. I don't know what happened. I felt so sad when I was driving home earlier and just had the overwhelming urge to tell him how much I miss him. It was like a wave came over me. It didn't matter that I've already said it all before. I won't bother telling you what I texted him, I'm sure you can imagine. :neutral:

    He read the text right away, which means he has his phone back. And if he's got his phone back, it means he's out of rehab. I kept thinking in the back of my mind all this time that there must have been some really good reason why he stopped calling while he was in rehab, and that the moment he got out he'd be falling over himself to get back in contact with me because he'd be dying to see me. Well... he's out of rehab and he didn't bother to tell me. And he's not replying to my text either.

    I feel so stupid. I feel angry, used, hurt, embarrassed, disregarded.... I just deleted his contact from my phone. Right now I'm feeling that really awful combination of angry and wounded... and if I had his number I would end up texting him a crazy rant or leaving an angry psycho voice mail. Then I'd regret coming off like a psycho chick and my self esteem would be even more in the shitter than it already is. So, at least I didn't leave the crazy voice mail... :(

    I feel he owes me an explanation. Why can't he just do that? Instead he's going to just ignore me and hope I disappear? I know he's got his issues but I knew him well enough and spent enough time with him to know that he understands basic human decency, and how to treat others. I saw how he was with people. He was considerate and thought of other's feelings. He was always so kind to strangers, so why can't he show me this basic kindness? Why can't he show me the respect and courtesy of an explanation? I know @tiredmom you've tried to tell me many times that you can't have those expectations of the mentally ill. So I don't know, maybe I'm just not getting it. I know I should just shrug my shoulders and say oh well, but it makes me so upset that he feels he can just walk away. He would rather ignore me than have to deal with my unpleasant emotions, I suppose.

    I'm sorry I'm going on and on. I'm just really beside myself right now. I feel so stupid. I really need to read the writing on the wall and take this as a sign to move on. I really don't know when or if I'll ever be ready for a normal relationship. I choose jackasses over and over again. I choose them knowing that it's going to be a shit show and I get my heart broken every time.

  • @DeanD @tiredmom Thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate it :smile:
  • @arcshines I'm so sorry this happened and that you feel stupid. Don't beat yourself up too much over it. I am glad you removed his number from your phone. I understand how easy it is to get flooded with emotions, and I am not judging you for texting him. But I don't think you truly understand what you are really dealing with. Something is not getting through to you. You keep reaching out to this man hoping for something and trying to keep this relationship going even though you know better. You are asking for a sense of decency from someone who might not be able to deal with all the emotions from you. He is not well. Who knows what state of mind he is in at this time. He may still be sick, or he may be doing better and doesn't want the drama. I'm guessing he is thinking that he hasn't contacted you and you probably figured out that he is not going to contact you for whatever reason. You stated in a previous post that you had a gut feeling in the beginning but you ignored it and got involved anyway. And perhaps he really isn't a decent person. Who knows. He has mental illness and alcoholism, so who knows what side of him you experienced when you were together. Depending on his mental health and if he is or is not drinking, he could have many different moods from one day to the next. I will tell you this though. It is not good for someone who lives with bipolar to get stressed out, or have drama.! It can trigger a manic episode and he doesn't need that. I don't know everything about him of course, and I don't know if he is decent or just an asshole, but I do know this. And please don't think I am defending this man, but when you met him he was homeless, had problems with alcohol, a divorce, lost his children, is alcoholic, and mentally ill. You have a home, your children, and a job. I know you must be hurting terribly, and I am sure you are just bewildered as to how someone could just move on this way, but if you care about him and want what's best for him, I think you should leave him alone. He has been away at rehab. Hopefully he was there trying to get better and is better. Or maybe he didn't stay and is not better. Either way, more drama or having to feel guilty for hurting another, is not going to help him or you. The scariest part of all this is in a week or a month he might call and decide he wants to see you or be with you. THAT IS THE KIND OF SHIT THAT HAPPENS!!! He could be having a vulnerable day, a lonely day, a depressed day, a manic day, or homeless again, or he's drinking, or many other problems. I wish I could tell you something different. Something positive about this relationship, but there is nothing positive to say. Look at how affected and hurt you are already. Do you want to keep this going to the point you have to take more time off work? Please let this go for your own good. This man is not worth all the misery you are feeling. Who knows how many times this has happened with him. Remember, there is a reason he can't see his children! You really don't know him that well. At this point it is not important that he gives you an explanation. What good is that going to do except stir up more pain and drama. Sometimes people are not stable enough to do the right thing or be an adult about a situation, and some people simply avoid uncomfortable situations. What is important is that you recognize that this relationship wasn't a good idea to begin with. That you may have learned something from it. What is important is that you continue to take care of yourself so you can get stronger and at some point meet someone healthy. You deserve to be happy. I can't stress enough talking to your therapist. He /She can help you heal. Please try to have a decent evening. Take a hot bubble bath and try to relax. And I want you to know, I have been where you are. I left an hour-long voicemail. I screamed and ranted and raved, and once I actually beat the shit out of a guy. But I was different back then in my 30's! Now I realize there is no man worth all that!! And as you get older you look back and think wtf? Gosh, what a waste of precious time and youth all that bullshit was. Don't waste your time. That guy was lucky you had anything to do with him at all. Think about it!
  • @tiredmom I completely understand everything you're saying. I know what you mean as far as him disappearing on me without an explanation possibly being due to his mental state or his inability to "deal with" the drama and stress. I guess the mistake I made all along was assuming that he could behave like a normal person in this relationship, but he never could, right up until the end.

    I do need to learn to act on my gut instincts. I have to say, I've had bad gut feelings about a few men I've dated. I'm attracted to the good looking guys who are bad boys or have some kind of issue or drama going on. And I always say, oh I'll never get attached to him because he's got a, b, and c problems. I figure I'll just date him for a while and have fun. Then I end up getting attached to him DESPITE a, b, and c.

    I'm definitely taking your advice to not contact him anymore. Not so much to leave him alone as it is to preserve my sanity. I have to stop reaching out with expectations of a response and getting nothing. I have to do it to preserve my self-respect and sense of dignity. You are right that he was lucky to have me in his life. I really do agree with you on that. Maybe he sees that, maybe not. I have to understand that I'll never get the answers I want from him. I could badger him all I want but it would get me nowhere. Because when I really think about it, what could he possibly say that would give me closure? If he tells me he doesn't love me anymore, would that really make me feel better? No! My social worker friend tells me that she thinks he is self-aware enough to know that he can't give me what I need, and that he cares about me enough to not want to drag me into his problems, and that's why he's backing away. That would explain why his silence started after our last phone conversation in which I basically told him that I want to be with him but can't do this unless things will get better. I'd like to believe her theory is true.

    I can't imagine having to go through the experience of him coming back and then leaving me like this again. I don't think I could go through this pain once more. You're right that's it's already caused me so much misery. I wonder how many hours of mental energy I've spent obsessing over him. And it's not over. I already know it will take weeks if not months to start to feel like a normal person again.

    Tonight I'm finally considering blocking his number. It makes me feel a little sick to think about, but I'm imagining how freeing it would feel.

  • @arcshines I absolutely think you should block his number. You stated you wonder how many mental hours of energy you spent obsessing about him. Can you even imagine doing this and going through that for years?!! The longer you stay in it the deeper you get sucked in. Now what I am going to tell you, you will probably think I am crazy, and maybe I am. I swear I have some strange awareness in regards to your dating habits. Or maybe I just sense this because you seem to be a woman who loves too hard like myself. When I sent the last post, I swear there was something else on my mind, but I didn't want to write a book. Lol But I just felt and knew you had a liking for the bad boys, the good looking ones, the guys you shouldn't date. I know you say you figure you will just date them and have some fun but I think deep down you may be thinking something good could come from it, or you are just hoping it will because you are attracted to them. Never think you couldn't fall for someone you are not immediately attracted to. Or someone who is so nice they seem boring. When I started dating my current husband, (not the first alcoholic /bipolar one) I wasn't that attracted to him. I was getting over someone else I spent 2 miserable years dating that I was absolutely sick and obsessed over. I was only going out with my husband at that time for something to do and to take my mind off the other guy. Anyway, I went out with him and I actually had some fun but wasn't that into him. But he was really into me. He was very nice, always complimented me, brought me flowers, was funny, and I was like whatever. When the boyfriend found out he decided now he wants me and will do anything to get back together. So I end up telling my husband I was going to give it another try with my boyfriend. So I go to my boyfriends and spend the weekend. But it wasn't that much fun and I couldn't help thinking about the really nice guy I just dumped. So now a few more days go by and I started to realize I really miss the new guy. I was missing the fun I had with him and how well he treated me. I started to realize, damn I think I fell for this guy I wasn't even attracted to in the beginning. So long story short. I end up stopping by his house and telling him I missed him and I am done with the ex. That I just had to make sure it was over with him, but now I know it is. That was 24 years ago. We are married. Of course he gets on my nerves sometimes, but I have been attracted to him once I fell for him, and still am. I honestly believe it's better to date the nice guy. You can fall in love with them too! Trust me. It happened to myself and a couple of my friends too. Bad boys usually stay bad boys!
  • @tiredmom thanks so much for sharing that story about your husband! I love that. I'm glad that you found someone nice to fall in love with and spend your life with. :)
    You are correct, I do like the bad boys! I'm always attracted to the good looking guys who are overconfident, bordering on being jerks. Or the guys who have some kind of personal afflictions or issues. If he's intelligent too, then that's even better. This current man, he had it all. Attractive, smart, cocky/confident, charming, and loads of personal problems. In my defense, I do have to say that not all of his issues were so apparent when we started dating. He was working a full time job as an insurance professional (a career he had for many years), and he didn't appear to be homeless. He was living with his sister at the time, and I didn't think that was unusual because lots of people stay with family after divorce while they get back on their feet. The joblessness and hotel living didn't come until later. Once we started spending more time together, the red flags became apparent, but by that time I was hooked.

    He is the type of man who made me feel that immediate spark. I remember reading one time that if a woman has a history of toxic relationships, that initial spark is a warning sign. Which gets to your point of giving "boring" men a try. My social worker friend says this to me all the time (you and her give a lot of the same advice, lol!) She said don't always go for the most good looking guy in the room. Date someone who is nice. Even if he seems a little boring, give it a try and see how it goes. I remember this one guy I met on a dating app last year. He was cute but not drop dead gorgeous, a little on the younger side, maybe 35 or 36. He owned his own home, and had a really interesting job traveling around the country as a representative for a big ski and snowboard maker. He and I liked to do a lot of the same outdoor activities. He was always very respectful and nice. He volunteered. He took his mom to her doctor's appointments. One night I sent him a random selfie of my face. Most of the jerks I was involved with would have followed that up with a request to send a naked pic, lol! But he said, wow, you're so beautiful, I can't wait to meet you in person. Like, totally appropriate and sweet, and respectful. But of course, I thought he was boring. He didn't trigger that spark. So I just kind of let him drift away, and we never even went on a first date. I still think of him occasionally and kind of regret never giving him a chance. I've done that with a few other guys I met on the apps too. If they were "too nice," I just couldn't feel enthusiastic about them.

    I know it's not helpful to continue ruminating and thinking about what really happened with this guy, but I'm thinking back to the time just before he suddenly left for rehab #5, and wondering if he might have been trying to break things off then. @tiredmom let me know what you think about this exchange ( I can almost recall it word for word):

    The day before his flight, he was acting distant. We were texting about him leaving and what his plans were. He was saying things that made it sound like we might never see each other again. I asked him if we were breaking up. He didn't reply for a long time, and when he finally did, he said he needed to be completely honest with me. He then went on to send a long text telling me how he's had severe, ongoing mental anguish, and that his bipolar and anxiety symptoms had gotten really out of control. He said he was having constant panic attacks and violent nightmares. He told me that someone would "get their throat torn apart and their eyes gouged out and ripped in half" if they looked at him the wrong way, and that he didn't "want to hurt anyone" (with the caveat that he'd never hurt me). He said something was wrong and he needed help. He said he'd tried so many times before to get help, and that this time there were people saying they could. He asked me to not date anyone else while he's gone because it would kill him. He then went on to say that I was the best thing that's ever happened to him and that he loved me to death, but that he was completely and totally out of options. He ended by saying that my assurance that I'll have him back would eventually carry him back to me.

    Even as I write that now, I can see that he was probably trying to end things that day. I wanted to hang on as much as I could, so I took it as a temporary goodbye. After he got on the plane I didn't hear from him for another 10 days while he was cut off at rehab. Once he got in touch, I sent him a very long and emotional email reiterating my love and support. He acknowledged it, said it was "sweet," and asked me if I'm still his and if I'd be there for him no matter what. I told him yes. Things seemed fine for another week or so, then we had the slight fall out over him forgetting a conversation we had, then the phone call where we patched things up but I told him that if we're going to do this, I need him to do his part and need to know that things will get better. He agreed, told me he loved me and that he'd call the next day. Then he was gone.

    So... I guess there's nowhere for me to go except forward. It just hurts like hell. It was such an intense whirlwind of love and affection and hope and promise, but it all came crashing down because his illness was just too powerful. I take a little bit of comfort in telling myself that maybe he did really feel all those things for me, but that he just couldn't sustain it because of the severity of his problems.
  • @tiredmom I have a bunch of really nice paintings and drawings he made me. They're currently in a drawer in my dining room. I think of them every time I walk past that drawer. I have a few of his belongings too, some clothes, personal items. The paintings and drawings in particular are so hard to look at. One of them is a sketch he made of me. Another one is a painting of himself, holding the world on his shoulders. :( I don't know what to do with them. It hurts just having them in the house but I can't throw them away. It's art. There's also the poetry and letters he sent me. Those are in my nightstand drawer, pushed to the back so I can't see them. Maybe I should just put all of the paintings and letters and clothes into a box, and put it into a far corner of my house, maybe the attic, where I don't go much and won't be reminded of him.

    How could the intensity of his feelings change for me so quickly? Is it the bipolar? When we were together I was his world. He told me this. He told me he would hang himself if I ever left him (not normal, I realize that). He wanted me forever. And it wasn't just the words. When he'd have his arms around me I could feel it. He'd hold me and we'd just be wrapped around each other and he'd tell me how much he loved me. It felt so completely real and authentic. Maybe I'm being a sap but I really believe he felt genuine love for me during those times. He wanted to be physically with me like that so badly that he'd sneak into my house in the middle of the night so we could just hold each other in bed. No sex. Just togetherness. How could he go in such a short time from loving me and wanting me that much to now apparently wanting no part of me? Does bipolar really do this to a person's mind? Is this normal for a bipolar person?

    Sorry for all the posts and stories and questions... I'm having a hard time getting through today and even just writing all this down is helping me. Thank you.
  • @arcshines First lets start with the simple questions with easy answers. Yes, I think you should put everything in a box and store it away if you feel you need to keep the things, so they are out of sight, out of mind so to speak. Now in regards to that instant spark. Your social worker is absolutely correct! Unless you are completely healthy it is not usually a good idea to go for the guy who you immediately felt that spark. You talked about a nice man you met on an inline dating site who you felt was boring. With his job and the things you mentioned you both enjoy I bet this man was anything but boring. I don't care what day and age we're in, or what younger people feel about what is acceptable behavior today, but I feel anyone who would follow up with asking for a naked picture is just a pig looking for a whore or just wants to have a good time, if you know what I mean. I would immediately move on in that case. You said this other gentlemen was very nice and also volunteered and took his mother to doctor appointments. One thing to look for in a man is how he treats his mother. How he treats her is usually a good indication as to how he will treat you. That is one of the things I liked about my current husband. He loved his mother more than anyone and you could see that. Do you want a man who tells you you are beautiful or someone who says hey babe, show me your t....! I think that gentleman would have been very interesting and probably a good guy who you could have got to know who at least would have been decent and respectful. Now regarding your questions involving this current man. I'm guessing he did have genuine feelings for you, but it's anyone's guess how much of what you felt was also fueled by your own needs and also whatever state of mind he was in at the time. There are different symptoms of bipolar episodes and everyone has different symptoms and levels of intensity. The episodes themselves can be very different for each individual. Not everyone experiences the exact same symptoms. Some people may have mild symptoms while others become completely unhinged and may need to go into a hospital. It does you no good to keep wondering what was real and what was just a symptom of whatever he was going through. There is no way to get inside someone else's head and know for certain what they are thinking. I wouldn't think too hard about everything he said when he was leaving. He surely wasn't well. That is what you need to focus on. You need to remember he told you noone has been able to help him previously so he is going to get help somewhere else. So there is your proof that he has had these issues for a long time and believe me he is always going to have them. You really should believe that you are 100% fortunate that this relationship could be over. Alot of what you felt could have been his own emotional needs while being unwell, or the alcohol could have made him much more intense. I don't know and you will never know either. You have to accept that some of what you experienced was probably real and some may not have been. His issues mixed with your own is definitely way too much for either one of you to be good for each other. You just have to move on from this. And I think you should stay away from men for a little while. And definitely don't have any more contact with him. The fact he said he would hang himself is way over the top. Who wants to be in a relationship where you end up feeling responsible for someone else's life and happiness. That isn't something to be flattered about, that you are needed so much. It's a burden. I also want you to know I understand how you might not have realized the extent of his problems when you first met. That is exactly why people need to take it slow when meeting someone new and not go diving in head first. Just remember people who have mental illness can be complicated individuals and there could be other underlying things going on also. The best thing for you is to step away and don't even try to figure it out. Odds are you never will. Just keep taking care of yourself. I hope you can relax a bit more and feel better. Find something to do to help occupy yourself today so you can stop thinking so hard.
  • Thanks @tiredmom You're right that I need to stop thinking and overthinking and trying to analyze what feelings were real and what were not, what he wanted, what he meant, etc etc. It's true that I'll never know and maybe he doesn't even really know. So so so so soooooooo many red flags and issues right off the bat with this man. Red flags up front always lead to troubles later on. I'm learning this the hard way!
  • @tiredmom I have to step out for an appointment this morning but I wanted to just write and let you know that I happened to come across some of your posts on other threads here. I hope you don't mind. I'm so sorry to hear about what you've been going through with you son. As a parent, I can't even imagine it. And I'm sorry that I've taken up so much of your time with my stupid man problems. I feel a little ashamed right now that I'm posting here crying and having all this angst over some guy when people are dealing with real life and death issues. I'm so sorry. I do appreciate all the time you've taken to read and reply to my posts. You have no idea how helpful they've been. Thank you. <3
  • @arcshines I agree that red flags in the beginning most likely point to problems later on down the road. When you make your decision as to what you want and what you don't want in a relationship or man, do your best to stick with that. I mean the big things, not the little things that can be compromised. You'll thank yourself later!

    @tiredmom I thank you for all of your wonderful responses here in the Forum, encouraging so many others. I understand what it's like to have a child struggling with addiction, and despite the ache that seems to be inside of us much of the time, we move on living Our Lives, and sharing our journey with others. Inspiring when we can and just being there for one another. So thank you for how you show up here in the Forum!
  • @arcshines You don't have to be sorry for anything. I don't mind at all talking with you and offering help based on my own experiences. Like I said previously, you seem like a very sweet person and it helps me also if aI feel I could possibly help someone else in their life struggles. I also want to help someone else so they can have a better life and possibly not make the same mistakes I did. I know how awful life can be when you are involved with someone who suffers mental illness and addiction and if I can help them from getting sucked into that life, then that's a good thing. And I don't mind if you are reading other posts where I am posting. I read others post because I can also get advice from them and more insight into my own problems and how to handle them in a healthier way, plus give advice and maybe some comfort based on what I do know. So no worries. You can continue to pour your heart out or just let me know how you are doing.
  • @dominica Thank you for your post to me. It makes me feel good to be able to contribute something to another who is struggling, while also getting more insight into myself and what I am going through. You give wonderful advice to others and are so supportive and I have taken some of your advice to others and am trying to apply it to myself. Thank you.
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